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review 2018-03-18 21:20
A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quintet #1) - Anna Quindlen,Madeleine L'Engle

Last weekend, the movie adaptation for A Wrinkle in Time was released in theaters here in America. And after hearing about the great representation it contained, I wanted to go see it and support the film on opening weekend. However, I am a person who loves to read the book first before watching the film. So I woke up early on the morning of Friday March 9, 2018 and read the first book in Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet before I left to watch the movie later that day. It was quite the experience, let me tell you that.


The book follows the main character, Meg, who clearly has a lot of self-esteem issues. She sees herself as plain and boring and stupid. She also tends to have a real bad attitude problem. As the story progresses, she learns that her missing father is lost through various dimensions and it's up to her, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and a school friend named Calvin to go along with three "heavenly" beings to rescue him. 


The story itself is interesting enough. I really like the imagination L'Engle created throughout her books. She made it scientific, whimsical, and bizarre. I was fascinated with the explanations about how the "wrinkles" work and what it means when it does. The plot was exciting and the true identity of "IT" was horrifying to say the least. I really enjoyed reading about how the science works in this world.


What I didn't enjoy as much was her characters. Let's start with Meg. I understand she is going through her adolescent years and having her father missing really messed with her self-esteem issues, but she was infuriating! She complained left and right, she was mean for no real reason other than because she had a short temper, and she was so immature when she finally found her father that she blamed HIM for all the "bad" things that happened to her and her brother. I know she's young but that's no excuse to be a complete jerk to the people who are trying to help you. That care about you. I'm so glad "movie" Meg is a lot more tolerable. (More on this later.)


Calvin is another character that I couldn't stand in the book. He shows up out of no where, insults Meg, and can be a snob at times. And we're supposed to believe that Meg finds him attractive so it's okay he treats her like crap? Really? Oh, not to mention it was because a boy paid attention to her so she started to feel better about herself. Give me a break. He was a jerk and I didn't like him one bit. Once again, so glad "movie" Calvin is not like that. (More on this later.)


Last character I want to talk about is Charles Wallace. He's basically one of the few characters from the book I actually liked. He has this "other worldly" presence about him. He knows more than is being told and I found him so fascinating. I love the intelligence he contained. I wanted to learn more about him! I guess I have to keep reading the series in order to get that information. X3 His movie version was good, but he came off more as a child than some "other being." It's not a bad rendition of the character. Just a different one.


Basically, this is one of those cases where the movie, in my opinion, is better than the book. I know! Blasphemy! But that's just how I feel. The book leaves a lot to be desired. I just wasn't attached to any of them by the end of it. Whereas the movie, I love how the characters were portrayed in the movie. Meg is so complex. She has self-doubt and doesn't think highly of herself, but she's not mean for no reason, she's not a hateful person like she is in the book. She is compassionate and understanding and she learns and grows throughout her adventures. I loved her relationship with her brother and how far she was willing to go for him. I love that she is a mix child in the movie (in the book, she's white) and how normal it is to have a family like this. I love that.


I also much more prefer Calvin in the movie than the book. In the movie, he's kind and charming. He treats Meg with respect. He never talks down to her and he never insults her. He's there to support her and be her friend. AND he's not the "cure-all" for all of Meg's problems. She still needs to deal with her own demons. It's just nice that she has a friend to support her whilst she does so.


Oh! And the "heavenly" beings of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which were so much more enjoyable in the movie than the book. Especially Mrs. Which. Mrs. Which in the book kinda shows up, tells the kids what to do, then leaves again. In the movie, she's a sort of support to Meg. She helps her, or tries to, see the beauty of who she is and I thought that was a great message to show to kids. 


I am in love with the beauty of this film on multiple levels.


The one thing I did not really like about the film was the lack of plot. My favorite thing about the book was how eerie Camazotz was and what went on there. Not to mention how horrifying IT was. But the movie didn't focus on it. It focus on the message of having confidence in yourself, about the love of a family, and doing the right thing no matter what. All those are great messages and I don't dislike the movie for that, I just wanted to see a little more of what made the book interesting for me.


All-in-all, I think you should read the book. It's pretty interesting when it comes to the science portion and when they get to Camazotz. However, the book can get a bit... preachy so keep that in mind when reading it. But once you do read it, definitely go see the movie. It's a beautifully stunning, well-told story about family and love. Kids NEED to see this movie. It's absolutely wonderful.

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review 2018-03-18 05:12
The Uncommon Reader
The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett

A short novella on the joys, growth and enlightenment reading can bring, even to the most enlightened, at any time in life.  It's also an accurate portrayal of the consuming obsession reading can become (truth, as we all well know).  


Layered atop this testimony of the power of the word is another accurate portrayal of the divide that exists between those who read and those that don't.  Those who don't read should be forced to read this book, so that they know just how stupid they are relative to those that do.  When empathy for others and a focus on inner reflection over sartorial splendour are confused with senility and deterioration ... well at least senility is honourable; nothing honourable about ignorance.  But boy, do the readers get their revenge at the end - few books I've read ended with a better closing line.


My only complaint about this wonderful, brilliant little book is the author's conclusion that the natural outgrowth of reading must be to write.  This conceit leaves a rather large ding in my enjoyment of the book.  So is his assertion that to merely read is to be merely a spectator.  Both are flagrantly wrong, although how an author could naturally fall into such a self-supporting perspective is obvious.  Most readers will read their entire lives without every having a moment's urge to write, and I'd bet quite a few, like myself, often read and then go out and do.  I mean, I can't be the only person who's propped a book about knot tying in the crook of a tree, simultaneously reading about how to tie a knot, while actually trying to tie said knot, am I?


If you share either of my complaints, don't let it stop you from reading this book given the opportunity.  It's worth the small aggravations and disagreements to experience this charming, thoughtful and beautifully written novella.  


One final note:  Being Queen would suck.  There are not enough books and private libraries in all the holdings of the British monarchy that would make referring always to oneself in the neutral third person worth it.  If one had to constantly refer to oneself as one, one would send oneself's own head to the chopping block.  Ho-ly hell.

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review 2018-03-17 23:08
This would have been four stars but....
The Vampire Next Door - Natalie Vivien,Bridget Essex

This is a co-written work between Bridget Essex and Natalie Vivien. I have read several of Essex's work and a couple of Vivien's. Both are very talented authors and I look forward to each new work of theirs. 


However this piece while engaging and very imaginative was not as good as I expected it to be. I'm a huge fan of vampire literature and other peoples take on different characteristics they may or may not have. Add in lesbians and you have me sold!


The world itself is set up like an alternative United States where it's only been a few years since vampires have come out of hiding. In this world, they even have a woman president who is also a vampire. Props. Throughout the story, it shows the discrimination vampires face, which is similar to what homosexuals and persons of color have faced throughout all over the world. Just a lot hate mongering from people who don't want to understand someone whose different from them. Which is a very interesting take and imaginative in my opinion. I even like the main character and her to be love interest. It's very sweet and romantic.


But the elephant in the room that I could not ignore was the fact that the main character Courtney; is still in a relationship. I will interject and say that she doesn't cheat on her girlfriend, but it's clear she's attracted to Lare. (her to be love interest) Throughout the story, you come to find out that her girlfriend, Mia isn't very good to Courtney. In fact, she's downright sleazy if you ask me. She looks at other women is clearly sleeping around on her girlfriend. The kicker? They have only been together for FIVE months. Mia has been doing all this to someone who she has only been going out with for a short period of time. Which is frustrating that Courtney continues to put up with her for nearly sixty percent of this book. All while feeling a deep pull towards Lare. I could see it being hard if it was like five years, and the other woman was good to her.


But there's really no real reason why they should still be together in any sense of the word. There are multiple examples of times where Courtney should have left Mia. But she doesn't. It makes zero sense to me and after a while it just got old. Especially when she keeps repeating that she needs to leave Mia but she keeps avoiding it. There was really just no need of this back and forth over a five-month relationship. It just really dimensioned the book as a whole; that wasn't even super long, to begin with. 


This could have been much better and I wish it had been because I do adore both authors works. That aside I will continue to look forward to their work, but this one just didn't quite resonate with me as well as I had hoped for it too.

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review 2018-03-17 22:17
Hunting Prince Dracula...
Hunting Prince Dracula - Kerri Maniscalco

I liked this second book even better then the first! Right from the start, in the train ride through the Romanian countryside, the author did a fantastic job of evoking an eerie atmosphere and sense of foreboding. This continues throughout the book, as  Audrey Rose and Thomas Creswell are residing in Bran Castle which is full of tunnels, traps, a creepy staff and someone determined to make sure everyone believes Prince Dracula is alive and hunting for his next victims. If you're a fan of this series then this book is a must read!


I do have one complaint though about the audio recording.  I listened to the audio version of both the first and second book and I had a very hard time hearing the narrator in the first book. I thought maybe it was just a fluke thing with my download but I had the same exact problem with this second book. I have to turn the volume all the way up on my phone and car to be able to hear it then it sounds sort of diluted like you're in a tunnel. I don't think the narrator is speaking loud enough or directly into the microphone. I hope they fix that in the next book. Anyone else have that problem? 

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review 2018-03-17 16:06
Lost Books and Old Bones
Lost Books and Old Bones - Paige Shelton

For me, this one was just...okay. There was virtually no context to introduce the new characters and I just didn't connect with them. It was an great plot, lots of twists and turns and the very creepy Dr Eben. I enjoyed the history (The Burke & Hare story is always fascinating) and of course, the little bookshop and its treasures, both human and inanimate, are a big draw for me but I found it was difficult to hold my interest and I struggled to finish it. Still, this is a great series and there's a lot to love for cozy mystery fans.

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