Review: The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones Movie

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It’s been a while since I wrote anything after trying to do a (unfinished) recap of a movie that I sent a friend. I haven’t forgiven myself for not finishing that recap, but it wouldn’t be fair if I missed writing this review.

First things first. The Cast. Is. Perfect. Everybody did a great job.  Jaime Bower is Jace, whether it is on or off camera. Cassie (Cassandra Clare) even said so herself. Lily Collins made Clary look better. As I have stated before, I am not such a big fan of Clary’s character but Lily made her look stronger, braver and less whiny so that is a big plus in my book. Kevin Zeger (Alec Lightwood) , Jemima West (Isabelle Lightwood), Robert Sheehan (Simon Lewis), Aidan Turner (Luke Garroway/ Lucian Graymark), Jonathan Rhys Meyes (Valentine Morgenstern)  and Godfrey Gao (Magnus Bane) completes the rest of the cast perfectly. I couldn’t and wouldn’t imagine replacing anyone of them. Godfrey should have been given more airtime though. How they managed to cast such beautiful people all in one movie didn’t hurt one bit.

Second; the pacing. Yes, it was a bit fast on the first part of the movie but I have no complaints there. I did find myself saying “Wow. That was fast!” during the first part of the movie but I was able to shrug it off and just enjoyed the movie. I think the way they paced the first part of the movie was necessary to give way for the more important details towards the end.

There were changes in the movie as expected like who killed the demon who attacked Clary’s mom. Why? Well, Clary killing the demon in the book was the ONLY thing she has done aside from whine and blame everybody around her and be basically what Alec said: dead weight. I think Lily deserves an award for making Clary actually bearable if not likable. What I wished they haven’t changed is Simon should have turned into a rat.  Yes he was bitten but was not turned into a vampire (yet). I don’t know how they would explain that in the next movie but I’m hoping it does get explained well. Rants and negative reviews on this part, I do get. I did wish they didn’t show that Simon will eventually turn into a vampire this early. That should have come later.

But I love that my favorite lines from the book was included in the movie which all came from Simon.

The latter part of the movie was a whirlwind for me (given that I have read the book). Maybe it was because it has been a while since I have read the book and couldn’t remember much but I think some scenes were incorporated in the movie that should have happened in the next part of the series. Then I remembered watching an interview with Lily where she admits that there were scenes that were incorporated in the movie to make it work and I agree on some points. Clary’s ability should have been revealed in the next installment but it worked fine for me. At least it showed why Clary was an important part of the story. And what she is really capable of. When I was reading the books I couldn’t help thinking why Clary was important in the series aside from the fact that Jace needs a girlfriend to keep it interesting. Clary drawing new runes this early was a big improvement for me.

Revealing some details from City of Ashes and City of Glass did get a lot of negative reactions from the fans (simply because it was NOT a part of the City of Bones book and it ruined it for them) but I do get where the director is coming from and why he decided to show some parts of the next books in the first movie. Imagine the movie NOT giving a hint that Clary and Jace were NOT siblings. It will totally ruin the series for non-readers. I know this because I almost stopped reading the series if I weren’t able to ignore that uncomfortable detail. As I have stated previously, Alec, Magnus, Simon, Isabelle, and Luke helped me through until I reached the third book and being able to  confirm that fact that they were really not related. It was a bit dragging for me while reading and was glad that hints were dropped this early in the series.

What made the movie confusing for non-readers was not being able to explain some things like how the silent brothers were able to speak with their mouths sewn shut among other things.

My advice: Go watch the movie and if you haven’t read the book, read it AFTER watching the movie to help you through some questions you might have. It will definitely  be easier that way. Cassie created a wonderful world for us and it would be a waste not to give it a shot. The movie wasn’t perfect and as loyal to the book as the fans would wish but it was a good one. It made one bitter medicine (aka incest) go down smoother. Please don’t let the negative reviews stop you from entering the amazing world of Shadowhunters.

Cassie is a great writer and has earned my love, trust and respect for being brave enough to confront issues that may raise a lot of eyebrows. I would classify her style as an acquired taste. A style I definitely “get” and love.

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Review: The Full Monty

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Atlantis’s Productions presents The Full Monty! Get ready to laugh and enjoy great music.

Before watching the play, I tried to watch the movie and I lasted for about 15mins before I decided that the movie wasn’t worth my time. The movie made me skeptical about the play and I was so happy to be proven wrong.

Rhoda and I rushed to Carlos P. Romulo Theater to watch the play after our yoga class. We knew that we’d be late but decided not to get all stressed out over it, applying what we learned in class: “Let it go. Let it be.” We got in and presented our tickets 25 mins later after the show started. Guess what? We got free upgrades! See what you get when you don’t stress over things and just let them be? ^__^

Anyway, when we found our upgraded seats, I was surprised to see that the scene was just right where I stopped watching the movie. Tthe scene in front me was a lot more funnier and entertaining which is the complete opposite of the movie when I decided to stop watching and sleep instead. Am I lucky or what? 😀 I felt that I didn’t miss so much from the play and even got upgraded seats!

The Full Monty is about six recently unemployed men. Jerry Lukowski (Mark Baustista) was just kicked out by his wife for not being able to support his son and being out of a job for a while. Trying to find a quick way to earn cash to be able to continue seeing his son, Jerry convinces his best friend, Dave Bukatinsky (Jaime Wilson) to put up a strip act and go up against the famous Chippendales when he learned that their wives pay up a good deal of cash to see men down to their underwear.

Dave and Jerry recruited four more men to complete the act: Malcolm MacGregor (OJ Mariano) a suicidal bodyguard living and taking care of his mother, Harold Nichols (Arnel Ignacio) as their supervisor from work and a dance instructor. The four of them found Noah “Horse” Simmons (Marco Sison) and Ethan Girard (Nino Alejandro) during auditions.

The rest of the cast are Ima Castro, Jay Valencia-Glorioso, Sitti Navarro, Ciara Sotto, Steven Conde, Ralion Alonso, Altair Alonso, and Hans Eckstein.

The story revolves about the insecurities of these six men; one tries to be prove himself to his son and wife, another is dealing with his weight, he believes that his wife won’t love him anymore if she finds out he doesn’t have a job, one  struggles with his age and another with his sexuality. It was heartwarming to see these men help each other with whatever they were going through and help them get over with insecurities.

The highlight of the show was during the performance of Jerry’s group when they decided to bare it all and go Full Monty to increase the level of competition against the Chippendales. Like the end of the movie (as I have heard from Rhoda) Jerry’s group takes their underwear off and the lights go out, Atlantis Productions stayed true until the end. Jerry and the gang ripped their briefs out the exact moment the lights go out and the only thing you could see were their silhouettes. Haha. In case you’re wondering, the strippers came out for the final bow wearing robes ( I don’t think they’re wearing anything underneath).

I truly enjoyed the play and was determined to not watch the movie and keep the memory of the play with me instead. Even Rhoda agreed that the play was way better than the movie. Did I get my money’s worth? Yes, and not just because of the free upgrade. The show was entertaining and everyone of the cast did great. I even searched for the soundtrack of the play and is playing as I write. Yey!

Review: The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

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I waited for the series to be finished simply because I am just bad at waiting and chances are I would have forgotten what I have read when the next book comes out. So instead of the individual books, I’d like to focus more on the three main characters as I see and understand them them and some concepts that became much more clearer to me in this series than The Mortal Instruments.

Will Herondale. The startling resemblance to Jace Wayland/Herondale’s character is not very hard to notice (plus Alec Lightwood’s good looks). The good guy pretending so hard to be the bad one not to look cool but to protect the ones he love. I never liked these type of character before because I find them so hard to sympathize with. These characters could be frustrating at best that I start to root for other characters in the story. But not Will. With Clare’s magic at creating very real characters that it’s so easy to believe and understand him that you wanted to hug him tight until the bad dreams go away. He was described as noble and a complete gentleman. Again, Will being noble and holding his feelings back to make others happy would not have the same effect if it weren’t for the situation he, Jem and Tessa were in.

James “Jem”  Carstairs. A sick and dying drug addict who is also Will’s parabatai (more in this later). Yes, he is dying and I have accepted then that this sweet boy will make me cry for so many reasons and I was right. It was very difficult for me to read the several parts of the series because the tears wouldn’t stop falling. Anyway, given the situation he was in, I never looked at him as weak and incapable of protecting the people he loves. Neither did I think that Will or Tessa or anyone around him loved him out of pity. Between Will and Jem, Jem is so much easier to love since the other one kept pushing people away while Jem welcomes everything with a bright attitude. If I ever felt pity for anyone, it wasn’t for Jem. My heart went out to Will and Tessa, seeing how much they both love Jem and is willing to do anything (like reaching into the fire for the much valued drug making him live or voluntarily giving yourself up to the enemy to save his life). Only during rare moments did we see him sulk and wish to have a longer life, but that didn’t last long. On the moments that count, he was the smart one making sound decisions and accepting his faith as a given not because he has lost hope, rather, he reminded me how precious each moment in life is. When he was twelve, he was told he’d live for only a year if he’s lucky but as things turned out, he lived longer than that and that much was enough for him. Well, until Tessa came into his life…

Tessa Gray. A girl who had exceptional talent in shape-shifting because of the blood that runs in her veins. Because of her talent, she is wanted by the enemy to make the Nephilim disappear. Like Clary, I didn’t feel much for her but I were to chose, I’d choose Tessa over Clary any day just because she could kick ass better than Clary. What’s interesting for me is her love for Jem AND Will. Even before I read Clare’s post on why or how come one person could have more than one great love, Tessa never appeared like a bitch to me even if she claimed to love both boys equally. For some weird reason, Clare convinced me it was possible though no other story I have read, watched or heard was able to do otherwise. I understood how much she loved both. I didn’t join Team Will or Team Jem, as I would have done in any other books with love triangles involved. I was pretty much contented with the way things turned out in the end. I believe Tessa is one lucky girl to have found two great loves, though I believe she’d have more loves and heartbreaks, like Magnus Bane, being immortal and all…

The concept of Parabatai. An oath taken by two Shadowhunter warriors, binding them to each other as blood brothers and promising to protect each other. That didn’t mean much to me while I was reading The Mortal Instruments. During that time, it was a given for me to protect your blood brother during any situation, putting the your parabatai‘s welfare before yours. An old concept given a new name. That was it. But in The Infernal Devices, I have learned that there is no greater love than the one your parabatai gives you. It will be difficult to understand how three people could love each other equally. The love Will and Jem will never be matched “because he loved him as his soul”. Watching two boys who are both willing to give up anything for each other could be very very very heartbreaking. I couldn’t help thinking how these boys loved each other so much and not fall in love with each other. Haha. No wonder there are alot of fanarts going around, even on Clare’s tumblr (scan Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs tags and you should see more fanarts).  Even the parabatai oath sounded like wedding vows to me, though I know that having a relationship with your parabatai is forbidden, still…

The ending of the series was very reassuring for me. I had high hopes for The Mortal Instruments last installment and the start of the third series, The Dark Artifices and, of course, The Bane Chronicles.

As another fan of the series put it, “The Infernal Devices is not about ‘who’ to love, it is about  deciding ‘to love’.” And that pretty much tells it all.

Hansel and Gretel

After work, the ‘asarin-si-Dulce ‘ gang gathered to watch Hansel and Gretel (special thanks to our sponsor – bawi kami next time, pramis!). Jenli had some errands to do and went ahead while we wait for the rest of the group and we just met her at the mall.

The gala will not be complete without Dulce’s famous words like “So shuree (so sorry)” and “kaladkarrrrn (kaladkarin)”. Hahahaha.

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Now, the movie. The scenery reminded us of Twilight and Del predicted an appearance of a character and we were laughing so hard when the prediction came true. The story was kinda predictable but the execution of the movie was bloody entertaining. The fight scenes were bloody good, so bloody good I had my eyes closed almost all of the time. If gory movies are your thing, then you’d love every second of this movie. I didn’t know that Hansel and Gretel is that kind of movie but I still enjoyed it, thanks to the great company I had (healing waters! But insulin works so much better than healing waters. Haha.). Keeping our fingers crossed for a part two!

My favorite thing about the movie is the weapons they used. I’m not really a fan of crossbows (if you’re using a trigger to fire your weapon, why not just use a gun? same principle but less bulky.) but I want a crossbow just like Gretel’s. Best weapon in the movie!

Rise of the Guardians

Lately, I am in what I call my “topak mode” (blame the hormones, not me) so when we went out for a snack and I saw the collection of toys offered for a Happy Meal, I got my Jack Frost toy and nuggets. Yey!

Having one of my topak moments, Dulce and I decided to catch the movie after office hours. When we came back to our workstations, we didn’t get the chance to check the movie schedule because of our meeting.

On the dot, we left the office after the meeting and rushed to Eastwood to watch the movie but we were out of luck. We decided to try and catch the last showing in Metroeast instead. We barely made it in time and wasn’t able to watch the trailers of the up coming movies.

The movie was very nice. Seeing Jack Frost was love at first sight. Even the toothfairies-in-training needed to be reminded to get a hold of themselves. Hahaha.

Santa and the elves and his sleigh. I loved Santa’s tatoo of Naughty and Nice on each arm. And I liked the red and black outfit too. The red and white was starting to get too old for me. Haha.

Toothfairy. Well, I find her a little creepy throughout the movie. Or maybe, collecting teeth (some are still bloody) didn’t sit well with me. Especially when she looked thrilled to see those bloody teeth. Not a good picture for the kids, which Sophie (one of the characters in the movie) clearly pointed out with a loud wail.

Bunny. Aside from his creepy, giagantic easter egg sidekicks, he was a cool bunny. A funny bunny who paints eggs for the kids. Yes, Easter is just as important as Christmas.

Finally, my favorite guardian, adorable Sandy. He is in charge of the kid’s dreams. Oh, and he cannot make a sound so he communicates by forming images with sand. I couldn’t help but think that Sandy was the most powerful guardian (not counting Jack Frost yet). What can be more powerful than dreams? I can’t think of anything.

Together, they protect the kids from Ptich Black (aka the Boogey Man) who wanted to be turn all their hopes and dreams into fear and darkness.

This movie reminded me how powerful dreams are. Especially for kids. And that we never should stop believing.

I liked how the movie ended. Get the kids and watch this movie. I think watching it in 3D will be worth it. The kids will love it.

Atlantis’ Aladdin

Being a fan of theater and musical shows, my brother and I have been waiting for this play for sometime now. We got side balcony seats and it was good enough for both of us. Before we went to see the show, we heard good reviews for the show and a lot of praise for Aiza Seguerra’s interpretation as Genie. And we were lucky to catch her when we watched the show.

More on that later, for now… here’s my take on the show.

Aiza Seguerra (as Genie), Tom Rodriguez (as Aladdin), K-la Rivera (as Princess Jasmine) and Calvin Millado (as alternate Genie)

Atlantis Production launched its newest full-length show based on Disney’s Aladdin. The show was directed by Bobby Garcia and Chari Arespacochaga, set design by Lex Marcos and Lawyn Cruz, lighting design by Jay Aranda, choreography by Ceicle Martinez, costume design by Twinkle Zamora, musical direction by Ceejay Javier and vocal direction by ManMan Angsico.

Aside from our beloved characters, three hilarious narrators namely Babkak (Bibo Reyes), Omar (Johann Dela Fuente) and Kassim (Jamie Wilson) were introduced riding three mutated camels while singing Arabian Nights. There were clearly something wrong and disturbing with one of  the camels, and I learned that they used recycled materials for their props. So, that explains it. Hahaha. Aside from the camels, the rest of the props were wonderful.

Tom Rodriguez did surprise me during the first part of the show. Wow. He can sing! He did sound like the real Aladdin. But after the first song, his voice kinda changed. It sounded different but still good. I even heard a comment from the person sitting beside me who thinks Tom’s first song was dubbed because his succeeding songs really sounded different. There were a few moments that he still sounded like Aladdin again but it changes so fast. Well, he is new in theater… but he was good as a first timer.

K-la Rivera (Nina of In The Heights) was a charming. It was my first time to watch her perform and I enjoyed hearing her sing.

And our favorite character of this show, Aiza Seguerra‘s Genie. Whenever she appears, all eyes are on her. She was the without a doubt, smallest one on stage but she owned it. In one part of the show, she entered the stage from the audience and people leaned closer just to see her while she was down the stage having a conversation with Aladdin. Even after the show, we were still talking about her. I think the show must have been titled Genie instead of Aladdin. Haha. We were really happy to catch her. I couldn’t imagine how Calvin Millado would take on the role, but I’m sure he’ll be great too. He did a lot of shows to back up his credentials, too bad I haven’t seen him perform yet. Maybe next time?

Raul Montesa who is a theater veteran and Miss Saigon alumnus, plays Jafar. I did some research to help me with this blog entry and I wasn’t surprised to know that he was a part of Miss Saigon. He has such a powerful voice. It was just amazing to hear him. I would love to watch another show with him as the lead. Of course Jafar will not be complete without Iago who is portrayed by Jimmy Marquez – concert performer turned theater actor. The Sultan was played by Jun Ofrasio who is also a Miss Saigon alumnus. Wow! Two Miss Saigon alumni in one show! You just can’t miss this. The standing ovation was well earned. Good job guys!

Grab your tickets here while you still can. Aladdin will be  playing until December 9, 2012. Enjoy the show! For tickets and inquiries please call Atlantis Productions at 892-7078.
Reference for the show’s cast was taken here.

Meg Gardiner’s Jo Beckett Series

After reading Gardiner’s latest novel for her Jo Beckett series she immediately became one of my favorite authors and I looked for the previous Beckett series.

The first of the Beckett series. Since I started with The Memory Thief, I thought I would get to see Daniel and Jo in the first book but the series already started with Daniel’s death with a few flashbacks. It made me a little sad but Gabe was so sweet I didn’t really mind. Plus Gardiner really knows how to write a book you can’t put down. Everyone has their dark and dirty secrets and they tell other members of the club. Problem is, members start dying one by one and it is up to Beckett to stop the other members from losing their lives.

In this book, Beckett is called to help a patient with anterograde amnesia – basically it means the part of your brain where you store long term memories cant be accessed. And it is not cute and funny like Walt Disyney’s Finding Nemo, where a fish named Dory forgets everything after a few minutes. Imagine that happening to you or a friend or family, where you forget what happened every five minutes. People with anterograde amnesia will retain the memories before they got the amnesia, like if they were married or had kids.

This book reminds me of Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams. A part of his book says if time was not continuous and people would not remember what happened yesterday and has no concept of tomorrow, every word said, every act done would be honest. Wouldn’t that be nice? I started to doubt that after reading this book.

I couldn’t decide which Beckett book is my favorite after reading three books in the series. Haha.

A known singer dies in the middle of her concert and Beckett is called in to help to determine the cause of death – suicide or murder. Turns out, the singer was also the ex-wife of the president and felt threatened enough to leave a message in her song just in case she dies. Surprisingly, it took me a lot longer time to actually finish the book. Unlike the other Beckett novels I read before, this didn’t really make it to the top of the list. Maybe it’s because I figured out how to solve the case way faster than Beckett did (okay, so maybe the people I love were not in danger while working on the case, but still…) Gardiner has better works than this one in my opinion. It was not a terrible book. It just didn’t do it for me.

While waiting for another Beckett novel, there are other books lined up and waiting to be picked up in my bookshelf. So… bye for now! ^__^

Meg Gardiner – The Nightmare Thief

A week ago, I started reading the first chapters of Janet Evanovich’s Wicked Appetite but when a received a text message from my brother saying he’ll buy me dinner I abandoned reading and rushed to the mall. Haha. Since I was a few minutes early, I went straight to Powerbooks and stumbled on this book while waiting for my brother. One of the reviews at the back of the book caught my eye. It goes something like “If you read (insert several authors here) and Janet Evanovich, you’ll think Gardiner is a gift from heaven.”

Hmmm. Interesting. I grabbed the book, sat on the corner and started reading…

I finished three chapters before my brother finally arrived. He needed to remind me that I was hungry before I got up and started to think about dinner. Haha.

I was able to finish reading the book last night. The book was so intense that I stayed up until 1AM just so that I could finish it. There were parts where I find myself holding my breath. The end of every chapter is a cliff hanger, making it really hard to put it down.

The Nightmare Thief spelled adventure from the first page to the last. Autumn Reiniger’s 21st birthday is coming and rich daddy decided to buy her a game at Edge Adventures. A simulation game wherein she gets to be whoever she wants to be and she chose to experience a life of crime. Edge Adventures alerts the police that a simulation game is underway so that the screams and car chase or whatever will be ignored. Unfortunately, the actual bad guys used this to kidnap Autumn and her friends to take them to an adventure where their lives are at stake.

Gardiner sure know how to keep you engaged in the scene. If you are looking for an adventure, grab Gardiner. Her style is very different from Evanovich. Evanovich works show a lot of humor while Gardiner focuses on the action and survival.

I think Wicked Appetite needs to be returned to the bookshelf for now. I’m still pumped up for action and plan to go read more of Gardiner’s work once I get some work done. (I needed to put of my chores yesterday to finish the book ^___^?)

 

Mortal Instruments Book Five: City of Lost Souls

I finally finished reading the 5th book of the series. I have done a short review of the previous books here.

As you may already know, I am not a huge fan of the main couple of the series. I like Jace, I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s just… Clary. I have nothing against her but I think she is forgettable. Not someone you’d love or hate. While reading the parts when it was about her and Jace, It gets a little plain for me. I would stop and forget about her the minute I put my phone down (reading ebooks on my phone).

This book made it a bit hard to read. I literally needed to stop for a few minutes and compose myself (and not cry) before continuing to read. Good ting I read the last part of the book at home because I couldn’t help but cry at the break up of my favorite couple. Yes, I did cry reading a book before but this one is different. I didn’t cry as hard, but I felt the pain. It was the kind of pain wherein you understand the reasons behind the actions. I was whispering “Please… come back… change your mind… Don’t do this to him and yourself.” over and over again even though I know chances of that happening was slim (at least on this part of the story). My tears were not because of pity or frustration, but just pain.

The end was another cliff hanger but I wasn’t able to completely get over the break up that I wasn’t as excited to read the next book as I was during the last part of City of Fallen Angels.

Clare, you have more  than a year to fix this break up. If there was any love in this series it was because of this couple. I’m hoping begging you to make them get over this and get back together. There were moments when you made me go “Oh no, you didn’t!” or “That was just a cruel joke. ” But this break up hurts so bad. I seriously could not image any continuation of this series without them. Please, not them… Do anything you like and I promise not to complain. Just not this. Not them. Please. Please… PLEASE… *sniff sniff*

Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight

I know that there are tons of reviews of Twilight out there over the net, but since I made some reference of it in one of my previous post, I felt I needed to continue and review the series.

I am well aware that with this, I am treading dangerous waters. Especially to those serious and die-hard fanatics of the series. This how I felt while I was reading the books. I still remember how it felt even though it has been a while since I read them.

Like I said, it has been a while since I have read the series and it wouldn’t be fair to break this down per book. I first heard about this series from my cousin. She kept telling me amazing the book was and so when another friend finished her book, I borrowed Twilight and read it. When I finished it, I texted my cousin and told her that it was an okay book. I had a feeling that if I had come across the first book  when I was younger (like, in high school maybe?) I would have loved it completely.

The only character that intrigued me got very little role on the first book that I didn’t think he would appear in the succeeding books. Even before Taylor Lautner was casted as Jacob Black, I already found the character interesting.

When I learned that the second book took a new turn, I gave the series a second shot and read it. I know that members of Team Edward didn’t love New Moon, but I did. I was thankful that Meyer gave Jacob his much needed ‘air time’ so to speak.

I had nothing against Edward, I was even disappointed that his book didn’t make it out the market. I believed it would have been an interesting one. It’s just that… I’m not sold out on Bella’s character. And the ending. Oh God, the ending! It felt rushed to me. Breaking Dawn was thick, no arguments about that. Towards the end, I felt the pressure to end the book considering the length it has already accumulated during the switch of point of views between two characters of the series. It was a little awkward and rushed for me. Because of that I’m not that excited to watch the second part of the Breaking Dawn movie.

Hands down, Meyer was a good writer. She was able to pull the emotions out from you no matter what “team” you are on. I couldn’t remember any other book or  author that made me cry as much as Meyer’s Eclipse and the first part of Breaking Dawn had. Meyer, is an amazing author. Not many could pull of what she has done. I just think that a fifth book would have been beneficial.

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