Tuesday, July 19, 2011

TLS Fics of the Week July 19 -25: The Fab Five Reviews

A Rough Start by ItzMegan73
Overnight irresponsible Edward goes from bachelor to father of a 5 yr old. Meanwhile responsible, prepared Bella begins her first job as Kindergarten teacher at Forks Elementary. When irresponsible meets the epitome of responsible, sparks will fly! Twilight - Rated: M
Review By: LaMomo

Am I allowed, once again, to fangirl shamelessly? Because I will.

ItzMegan has given us the remarkable gem that is A Cannabean Bethrotal in the past and this other tale doesn't fall quite far from that mark.

The usual suspects all live in Forks, but this isn't the glamorous version of Forks where the Cullens dwell a multi-million dollar home with neverending glass panes or wear only designer clothes.
Edward, Emmett and Jasper work at the local wood mill. They scrimp and save. They work overtime. They live under the threat of job and hours cuts.
Edward lives in a down-trodden apartment. He is a reckless, self-absorbed, irresponsible bachelor.
Until.....a small, shy, traumatised and adorable five-year-old bundle named Anthony is dumped on his doorstep. Anthony is Edward's son. His mother Jessica died in a car crash. Edward never knew, till that day, that he'd fathered a child.
He tries - fighting ill-buried demons from his own troubled childhood - to incorporate Anthony into his life, but he is wholly unprepared for this.
He can't think for two people. He can't cook for two people. He can't even sleep one more person in his home.
Enter on Miss Isabella Swan, who moves to Forks on her appointment as kindergarten teacher.
Anthony's kindergarten teacher. She takes an immediate liking to the lonely, sad boy. The feeling is mutual. She senses that his family life is not perfect. She knows he is in mourning and extends an helping hand to his father. To no avail, because Edward, unknowingly, keeps up a confrontational, opinionated and prejudiced front against her.

Until...until he finally meets her. Until he understands she genuinely cares for Anthony and she isn't out for Edward's blood (figuratively speaking).
They begin spending time together. Anthony begins looking up to Bella as more than a teacher. Edward begins yearning for more.

There is definitely more to come, in all respects. This beautifully told tale depicts the intertwining lives of our well-known bunch of misfits, each with his/her own failings and virtues, each of them nursing his/her demons. They are all off to a rough start, sure, but they can walk down their chosen path together, slowly grappling with the awareness that their destinies are neither cast in stone nor determined by their pasts.

One key, tantalising word from Edward: "When."
Read.....and you'll understand...

Forget Me Not by SydneyAlice
With the help of his nurse, a man tries to put the pieces of his life back together. Will he be happy once the puzzle pieces fit, or will he wish his memories had remained a mystery? Updates daily! Twilight - Rated: M
Review By: Udo Blick / mephis1
A man wakes up disoriented and in pain. He finds himself in a hospital room with an assortment of injuries. He learns that he has been unconscious for three days and has been receiving treatment for his injuries, which fortunately turn out to be relatively minor. Unfortunately, he is unable to explain the how’s and why’s of his injuries or how he ended up unconscious, left for dead at Sol Duc Falls. Worse, when asked by Doctor Cheney, he discovers that he is suffering from some form of memory loss and other than instinctively knowing that his first name is Edward, he is unable to recall either his last name or where he is from.

The first chapter sets up the central questions of Forget Me Not: Who is this man? Where is he from? Why was he beaten up and left for dead in the woods? Does he have enemies? Is Edward a good man? Does he have a family, a wife or loved ones? Is anyone searching for him? Using memory loss as the fulcrum to build a highly readable story, Forget Me Not raises these questions about Edwards’s identity and the nature of his past. Yet, as story progressively builds, we find that as one question is answered, another one is inevitably raised.

In short, Edward’s identity, plus the nature of his life prior to appearing in Forks is shrouded in mystery, wrapped in an enigma. This is where SydneyAlice shines as a writer. With an assured touch, she uses the plot device of Edward’s amnesia to build a multi-layered, well-structured story about love, identity, the meaning of belonging and of family. Moreover, Forget Me Not asks these questions: do the mistakes in one’s past determine one’s present? Is identity fixed?  Is who one was in the past determine the person in the present?

Thankfully, in attempting to solve the riddles of his identity, the nature of his past and the mystery of how he ended up in Forks, Edward also learns that he is not alone in his search. With the help of generous, good-hearted people such as Charlie and Bella, he begins to piece together these answers.

At the point of reading and reviewing this story (chapter 16), the other main protagonists of this story are Charlie (the sheriff of Forks), Bella and Lily (his daughter and grand-daughter, respectively). With their help, Edward slowly but surely heals from his external injuries. He also gets hints about what he was like prior to his memory loss. For example, he discovers that he knows how to play the piano and that his last name may or may not be Mason or Masen. But most importantly, he finds himself falling in love with Bella as he gradually builds a life in Forks. In doing so, Edward is faced with a dilemma: does he want to know the man he was before his memory loss? Is the man he was before worthy of Bella’s love?

And no doubt, as the story builds and these initial questions are answered, other characters and questions will be introduced to propel the story forward. I also have no doubt that each chapter will add up to a well-written, multi-textured story about love, memory and identity.

Yet again, in doing so, SydneyAlice reveals herself as a confident writer.

The steady pace of the narrative combined with well-written dialogue pulls the reader into a highly compelling story. The characters are sympathetically drawn with back-stories that are slowly revealed through a series of chapters. One of the hallmarks of a good writer is that we find ourselves rooting for the characters, and identifying with their daily ups and downs. For example, when SydneyAlice discloses Bella’s story, she does this without resorting to extraneous detail. In broad brushstrokes yet without losing any emotional resonance, the writer portrays a female character who isn’t perfect; she made mistakes in her youth yet she is not her mistakes.  Who she was in that past doesn’t determine who she is the present. The Bella in the present is a loving mother; she is a generous, sweet-natured, big-hearted and emotionally mature woman. I suspect this other theme of Forget Me Not (i.e. does our past determine who and what we are in the present?) is an important one in Forget Me Not but then, I may be woefully mistaken. But I’m really hoping I’m not far off the mark...

Will Edward get the answers to his questions? Will those answers open a Pandora’s box to reveal the true nature of Edward? Will these answers lead to him wishing that his true identity remained a mystery instead? Will Edward and Bella be able to continue to love each other and receive their HEA? Or will the fallout from Edward’s past tear them apart and prevent them from having a future? Updated daily, Forget Me Not is indeed a compelling must read.

Secrets and Lies by BellaScotia
Bella once told a lie. A lie that cost her everything she ever wanted. 10yrs later, she returns to her hometown to an ailing father, an angry ex-best friend, and the man from whom she has kept a secret that threatens to unravel her existence. AH OOC M

review by: ChocolateLover82

I can’t remember the way I got to this story in the first place, but I’m really glad I did.

In early chapters, each of them left me wanting for more to try figuring out just how Bella and Edward got to that place, and lately (now that story is coming to an end) wanting to read more of their time together.

Bella fell in love and started a relationship with Edward when she was in high school and he was a much older married doctor, trapped in a loveless marriage. The connection they shared was both powerful and beautiful and absolutely impossible to resist. They had to keep everything in hiding, and that took a toll on both of them.

When their relationship is discovered, Bella is left alone out there for everyone to judge and point. In her mind, Edward left her to be with his wife again and everything they shared was a lie. It was such a pain to realize that he never loved her, that the only thing that made sense at the time was leaving town ... just not quite alone.

Ten years later, she returns to Forks to take care of her dying father and she not only has to face the people she left behind, but also the consequences of her decisions, good and bad.

BellaScotia develops a well written story with the perfect amount of heartbreak and suspense. I love her BPOV and how believable it is the way Bella deals with everything. She gets mad, she cries, she’s helpless ... everything in a situation that’s out of her control now.

Bella’s scared about what will happen once her secret is out, because it will, but she knows that needs to happen, and that fear grows exponentially when Edward returns to her life once again. It doesn’t help that he’s also a changed man, so different from the one she met ten years go.

The nightmares I've had this week are nothing compared to this. I feel like I've been pulled into some kind of alternate reality. Though I never expected him to be the same, I didn't expect him to be this changed. There is no kindness in his eyes, nothing of the caring, compassionate man I found it so easy to pour my heart out to.

BellaScotia also shows us Bella’s beautiful relationship with her son Jacob, their love for one another is palpable and we feel protective of them, not wanting anyone to mess with that.

Jacob is clamped to my side and squeezing my hand as tightly as he can. Over the past few days there has been a change in him. He has taken over the role of protector – never leaving my side, and always asking me how I'm doing. My love for him has been the sole thing that has motivated me to even try to function properly.

We also see that even though she did a fantastic job in raising him, turning him into one of the most adorable, caring and witty little Jacobs out there, Bella has not really been living at all, just mostly surviving for the sake of her son and hiding from everything that hurt her.

This story deals with real problems and real situations. How secrets and its consequences not only changed the lives of Bella and Edward, but also of everyone around them. When Bella left, she was protecting herself, but there was a lot she didn’t know at the time and finding out these things ten years later brings great amounts doubt and guilt.

BellaScotia also wrote a few EPOV in her story ‘Edward’s Secrets and Lies’ for this story that are simply a must. We see that his actions in this story come from hurt most of all, hurt from the woman that he’s tried to forget for ten years and at the same time, scared to do so.

I truly recommend you to give this story a try. I hope I’m not giving away too much, but this story is more about the journey they take trying to come to grips with everything that happened back then and try to form a new future, if there is a chance at that. The seriousness of the situation is well developed by the author, nothing is rushed and the way the characters react is believable, even if at times we want to shake them.

Not everything is serious of course, and lately I find myself grinning like an idiot at their actions, especially Jacob’s. These last chapters are simply a joy to read. I love reading the evolution in them and how they are getting used to this new life and finding their way back.

I’m sad that the story is coming to an end soon and more so that it’s BellaScotia’s last fic. But at least we’ll always have her stories to read in the future.

Go read, you won’t regret the journey.

The Education of Professor Cullen by Sheviking
College professor Edward Cullen is thoroughly annoyed by his student Ms. Swan. Everything about her bothers him, and he longs for the semester to be over. But what happens when he meets her one night when they aren't in school? Lemons and naughty language Twilight  Rated: M

Review By: BellaFlan
When I started reading The Education of Professor Cullen, I was expecting a little PWP... and I was okay with that! Sheviking surprised me by creating rich characters that I immediately wanted to fuck and cuddle. Professorward is a dichotomy of innocence and experience - he’s Bella’s prof, but is utterly clueless when it comes to women. Bella takes it upon herself to teach him the wonders of the pussy.

In a clever nod to the inappropriate kink dynamic of a student/teacher liaison, the story opens with Edward's class discussing the iconic and controversial novel, Lolita.

A guy in the back suggested that the main character Humbert was a degenerate and was not in control of his own actions and therefore he should be allowed a little clemency.
"But you can't actually defend his actions," a red-haired girl whose name I had forgotten argued. "He's a complete pervert and he corrupts the girl!"
"Actually, I think it's the other way around," Ms. Swan said without looking up from her notes.
"What?" the other girl said. "Are you serious?"
"As a heart attack," Ms. Swan said. "I'm fairly certain that Lolita is the one who corrupts Humbert. She seduces him and he loves it. What guy wouldn't?"
"But she's just a kid!" the redhead insisted.
"That she is, but she's well aware of what she's doing when she seduces him. She has had sex before him and afterwards he is basically eating out of the palm of her hand. I am not saying that what he did wasn't wrong, but you have to remember that he sees her as a young woman and he himself only possesses the emotional maturity of a twelve year old."

This foreshadows the impending relationship between Bella and her teacher, she, the Lolita to Edward's Humbert.

Where Edward lacks in sexual experience, Bella excels, but at times, I wonder if her sexual prowess is a reaction to the emotional abuse she endured from her ex boyfriend, James. This Bella is indeed broken, but not in the typical canon fashion. In a subversive reference to New Moon, Bella has abandonment issues, only it's she who does the leaving.

Whatever, right? We all have our flaws. But you know what makes her awesome? This:

"Wait, what are you doing?" I asked nervously.
She looked up at me with curiosity in her eyes.
"Well, I'm taking off your pants, Edward. Or would you prefer to do this on the bed?"
Do what? What are we doing? What am I doing? Why am I not leaving?
"D-do what?" I stammered.
She stood up and kissed my lips lightly.
"Have sex," she said slowly, as if I was retarded in some way, which frankly wasn't that far off at this moment. "I would love to have sex with you, Edward."

Yep, she's my kind of Bella. The angst level in this story is relatively low, the smut level is high and silly at times. This excerpt alone should make you want to read:

I let out a chuckle which soon turned into a laugh.
"What?" Isabella asked, lifted her head and gave me an amused look.
"I was just imagining discussing our future while you still have that thing in you," I explained and stroked her backside gently.
"Oh," she grinned. "Probably better to save that for another time."

I love a beautiful, romantic moment involving an buttplug. Win!

This story is one you can laugh, cry, and Jack kerouwhak-off to. I'm gagging for the last two chapters

We Come to Life Beneath the Stars by Lillybellis-
As Bella Swan starts over with hopes of finding her future, Edward Cullen is hanging on desperately to his past. She's treading water, and he's a corporate golden boy. They share an office, but few words...until one night changes everything. Twilight - Rated: M
Review By: edmazing

Phoenix stories are my own personal brand of heroin. As much as I love the whirlwind that is romance and fluff, nothing keeps me up and clicking “Next” like a story of two people becoming more than they were, independently and jointly. These stories nurture my heart and feed my soul. We Come to Life Beneath the Stars by Lilybellis does this in such a subtle, but gripping way.

Bella Swan had been going through the motions. She has put together a good life for herself. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. She has allowed her underachieving and overbearing mother to design her life. From the outside looking in it’s a great view; academic accolades, a career with endless possibilities for growth, and an acceptable man on her arm. At one time this might have been enough for Bella, but that feeling is slipping away.

“My head involuntarily falls to the side when he kisses my neck, and I put my hands over his as he touches me, because I want this. I want him to touch me the way that he used to; not just with his hands that have always made me feel so good, but with that wonderful, intangible thing that made our hearts fly, and our skin tremble, and bound us together more tightly than our arms and legs and lips ever could. It's missing, along with everything else that used to make us who we were, and I know that this is our last chance to find it.”

One of the things I love most about this story is the realities it contains. As Bella begins to rewrite her life and take ownership of it she is forced to examine who she is, embrace the things she likes about herself and amend those that have been holding her back. She is taking back the reigns.

By contrast, Edward is and has almost always been in charge. Circumstance beyond his control brought an abrupt end to his adolescence and forced him into the role of head of the household. He has learned to shoulder the burden and hide the toll it takes on him.

This story is filled with universal truths, one of which is that opposites attract and impact each other. The growth in We Come to Life Beneath the Stars is gradual, believable, and something you can take away with you and fully appreciate because of the honesty of its example.

"Life would be so much less confusing if everything worked out like it does in the movies."
He laughs over the creaky chains as we swing and sway. "How so?"

"You know, two people are separated for years over some misunderstanding, and then there's a grand gesture, and the world is right again. They have a good cry, then walk off into the sunset or whatever. It'd be nice if that worked in real life. If one big effort was enough to heal everything."

"That would just be a Band-Aid, Bella. Not real."

Oh, and “not real” is far from what this story is filled with. We have individuals that help and support each other instead of launching into a codependent love that is supposed to heal all wounds. A foundation is laid, trust is slowly established, and when the time is right, love blooms.

He puts his hand on the side of my face when I turn to him, and I lean into his touch. His thumb skims across my cheek, and his eyes are so beautiful and content.
"No one knows me like you do," he whispers.

I push up on the tips of my toes and kiss him, to seal those words on his lips with mine, to make them part of the two of us, because I don't want a single person on this earth to know his mind, his heart, or his body as well as I do. He's my favorite book; I'll read him forever and still not know enough, and when I reach the end I'll keep looking for more pages to turn.
And with my lips close to his so he can feel what I say, I tell him, "No one loves me like you do."

I'm not just talking about the way he always makes my stomach flip, or my knees feel like jelly. I know how special it is to find someone who grounds you and makes you fly, someone who pushes you and catches you, someone who calms your heart and unravels your body.
He is that someone for me.

I strive to find those perfect love stories. The ones that remind you of what true love is. The stories that refill your soul. That reignite that passion to reach for happiness. I am happy to say that this and so much more is true for We Come to Life Beneath the Stars and I’m so excited to share it with you. I loved reading it the first time and I know this one of the stories that I will reread and gain more from each time.

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