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review 2017-10-20 16:51
Love and Physics
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle

I reread this for the Classics for Beginners group read via the Audible audiobook narrated by Hope Davis. The audio format was a good idea. I was able to do other things and still experience the story again as an adult. While it definitely feels of the time period it was written, it didn't feel that dated to me. I will divide my comments into sections because that seems like a good approach for this book.

Characters

The characterization is in my opinion the focus of this novel. The main characters include Meg Murry, her younger brother Charles Wallace, Calvin O'Keefe, a slightly older boy that goes to Meg's school, and the mysterious Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. Secondary characters include Meg's mother and father and brothers, and the various beings that they encounter on their journey.

Meg's characterization is complicated. At times she is unlikable because she tends to be moody and somewhat whiny. This is understandable, so a great degree, considering how her father disappeared and she misses him, and also her awkwardness as a person. Meg is brilliant when it comes to mathematics, but her social abilities are lacking.

Calvin is a character that balances Meg in very good ways. Calvin is a young man of words and communication. His ability to get along with everyone is crucial on their journey. He is able to understand people and talk to them on their level. And he's a very humane person. He takes the time to understand that brilliant people often don't bother with.

Charles Wallace is a special young boy. His intelligence is off the charts, frankly eerie. This never explained. However, his unique persona is at the crux of this novel. The great evil that they encounter happily tries to explain his specialness for its own purpose.

Mrs. Whatsit, Who and Which are strange ladies that Charles Wallace and Meg become acquainted with, and help them on their journey to find their father. They seem like eccentric women but they are so much more. The relationship that Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin develops with them is one of loving support.

Meg's mother Katherine was not in this book very much. I wish we had seen her viewpoint more, but that wasn't the goal of the author. Meg's father Alexander plays a bigger role, but he is more ancillary compared to the three kids. He is their motivation and he's the catalyst for the story. The two twins Sandy and Dennys are used more as a contrast to Meg and Charles Wallace, because they are the relentlessly normal offspring in the family.

The evil beings in this novel are nebulous, not really explained, but definitely threatening. I think there are some very philosophical aspects that go alone with the concept of evil in this story that will attempt to delve into shortly.

There's another character that I can't get into without spoiling this review, so I will just say that Meg encounters a being who becomes a bit of an analogue for her mother and father. She connects to this being and gets a necessary sense of acceptance and caring that she hasn't experienced for some time due to the situation of her father being gone, her mother also being a scientist and having three other brothers with which she has to share attention.

Plot/Storyline:

This is a science fiction novel with a healthy dose of philosophy and a debatable aspect of religion/spirituality. That last part would depend on a person's viewpoint on the subject. Meg and Charles Wallace are essentially on a journey to find their father, and Calvin comes along for the ride. They travel to other worlds using the concept of tessering. This is something that Meg's mother and father stumbled across, but the Mrs. W know a lot more about doing right. Because this book is written for a younger audience (late tweens to teens), the danger that the kids encounter is there but it's not illustrated in detail. Nevertheless, you get the idea how dire the situation is for the kids.

Themes/Philosophy:

"A Wrinkle in Time" is a novel about family, sacrifice, relationships, and the concepts of good versus evil. I will attempt to explain what I got out of the novel, probably imperfectly.

Being intelligent is a valued commodity. I think that L'Engle seems to want to say that being smart in and of itself brings along with it some challenges and doesn't protect a person from its consequences of solve all the problems that they might have to deal with in their lives. I believe this is well-illustrated through the struggles of Meg, Charles Wallace, and her mom and dad. Dad might be brilliant, but his brilliance alone cannot save Charles Wallace. Meg might be a math genius, but it doesn't make her excel in school or get along better with others. On the other hand, Calvin is a well-balanced person who is intelligent in his way, but also has emotional intelligence and is gifted with needed communication skills.

Meg shows how we must conquer our fears and do what needs doing in spite of them. Sometimes we go into situations knowing we are out of our depth, but this is inevitable. We have to just be present and do what needs doing, and if we're blessed that's enough. Meg also illustrates how we can strike out in our pain at others because of our suffering. With maturity comes the understanding that we all have struggles, and hurting others because we're in pain never achieves what we desire. She learns to temper her fears and frustrations and to focus on the goals and objective. I think that's a very good lesson for people of all ages.

Charles Wallace shows the cost of arrogance. He thought that because he was crazy intelligent and very unique, that would be all he needed to conquer the enemy, but it only got him into a worse situation. Arrogance can definitely write checks that we can't cash.

The concepts of spirituality are present in this novel. Many times, characters quote Bible verses. The true nature of some of the character makes me think of celestial and demonic beings. The theme of self-sacrifice, agape love, and sacrificial love is at the heart of Christian ethos. I don't think anyone could deny that these definitely point to the Christian faith of the author L'Engle. However, she doesn't force a telescopic view of the world through Christian theology on the reader. She cites and includes some philosophic concepts that more orthodox-thinking Christians would have a hard time with. She doesn't put Christians on a higher level in society than non-Christians who have also made important contributions. Also, science is a big part of this novel. On a personal level, I didn't find a believe in scientific concepts incongruous with spiritual belief, but this is not the case with fundamentalist Christian believers. For that reason, they would not like this book. Also, narrow thinking Christians won't like the idea that the Mrs. seem like kindly old witches.

Some Shortcomings of This Novel:

I would still give this five stars because I still love this book and it's also from nostalgia of when I read it many years ago. Meg's temper tantrums could be problematic. Also, there is a scene where Charles Wallace is very violent towards his sister that might be upsetting to some readers. The conclusion is a bit too abrupt for my tastes, quite honestly. I've found that to be the case with many books I've read lately. I said earlier in this book that it doesn't feel that dated. I'm sort of wrong in the sense that the concepts of family are very traditional. Meg feels like she can't go on without having her father's presence (as though he is a lodestar for his family). That in itself is not a bad thing, but modern readers who didn't grow up with this sort of family probably wouldn't connect to this. Also, when they go to Camazotz, it feels like "Leave it to Beaver" on steroids. Very traditional, 1950s sort of view of life. There is no allusion whatsoever to multiculturalism or the concept that all families don't look the same. I did like how L'Engle makes a point that this sort of societal design is sterile and kills any kind of ingenuity or joy of living.

Is This Science Fiction?:

That's a question that will inevitably come up for a reader. I think it definitely is science fiction. Google defines science fiction as: "fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets." Under this definition, it would be difficult to argue against this being a science fiction novel. A huge aspect of this novel is the concept of physics and using it to navigate through 'wrinkles' in time. Also, the book involves traveling to other planets and exploring what life on those planets would be like. Also how advanced science technologies would change life as we know it. The thing that might trip up some readers is the equally strong aspect of philosophy to this story. I don't think these two things are mutually exclusive. In fact, they can go hand in hand. Good versus evil is at the root of most good fiction. And this is played out endlessly in everyday life. Sometimes, it's subtle. Many of us can argue that we don't meet truly evil people, but when you do encounter evil, you always know it deep in your gut. If you haven't read this book, you should decide for yourself and let me know what you think of it as a science fiction book.

I would recommend this book to readers who haven't had a chance to explore this book. I liked the audiobook version. Hope Davis is a good narrator, and she acquits herself well in styling each character. Many years after my first reading, it's still one of my favorites.

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review 2017-10-13 16:36
Body armor
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay

Today I'm going to attempt to form some coherent thoughts about my experience reading Roxane Gay's newest book entitled Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Some of you might have already had this book on your radar because of the huge amount of press that it got right after its release. This is an extremely personal account of Roxane's experiences as an obese woman in our society (which is obsessed with being skinny as you know). However, it's less a commentary on that than a self-exploration of her relationship with food and her body. You might recognize Gay's name from my review of her frank assessment of feminism and how she identifies herself (not just as a feminist but all-around human). I thought that she had pushed the envelope with her openness and willingness to 'go there' with that book but reading Hunger was a whole new experience. For one thing, this isn't a book about the trials and tribulations of being overweight in America and how she's planning on using this book as a tool to get her life back on track. No, this is a cathartic exercise in purging some of the darkness that she has had buried inside for too long. (I'm trying to not give away too much because her writing of the events of her life is kinda the whole point of the book.) This book will make you rethink the way that you look at your own body and how you make assumptions about other people based on their bodies. It is not meant to be preachy or shaming. It's one woman opening up about a horrific experience in her life and how that changed her forever. I think this is the kind of book that everyone should read because it opens your eyes to yourself, to others, and makes you think. 9/10 definitely recommend

 

What's Up Next: The Book That Changed America: How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation by Randall Fuller

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-10-11 21:57
For iddle passing of time
Secrets in Death - J.D. Robb

A lot of how this one will be taken depends on how much you can accept the protagonist's view of things. There are some fine and healthy bits of hypocrisy. Healthy because, to my to my sensibilities, hard cut and unbending stances are unmerciful at best, inhuman at worst.

 

Anyway *waves away*

 

I was entertained. I like it when the books focus on the characters friendships, and there was a lot of talk on loyalty. I'm also a bit amused by this trend where the dead body was a poor excuse for a human being. It says quite a bit about a hopeful outlook of humanity, where the ones getting killed are the despicable creatures that push everyones buttons beyond the limit.

 

Of course, then it goes and balances it with the little crazy shit that actually did it, so a bit of fast-stepping on that one.

(spoiler show)

Not as great a time killer as the first volumes, but better than the one before.

 

 

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review 2017-10-11 14:59
Family Night
Family Night - Tim Miller
What a fantastic story! This is what horror is all about. I devoured this novel, letting the creepiness and the terror move in and reside within me until the final pages.
 
So, what’s for dinner has a different take in this novel as some of the characters wonder who is for dinner? When a waitress goes missing, Detective Julie Castillo goes to work piecing together what occurred just before the disappearance. Meanwhile, Eddie is teaching his children the way of the Mask while Eddie’s wife nags in the background. Eddie is so proud of his two small children and it isn’t too long before their demeanor and carving skills are chef-quality.
 
Oh, this novel is gruesome and bloody but that is what happens when you experience horror at its finest. I loved the novel’s fast-pace and the events that occurred kept me on edge, I wanted more but I squirmed as the events unfolded. An excellent piece of work, one that I highly recommend.
 
Using this novel for my Serial/Spree Killer square for Halloween Bingo.

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review 2017-10-11 08:10
October Indulgence Release Week

 

 

 

We are thrilled to be celebrating the release of four brand-new, seductive Entangled Publishing Indulgence titles today! We cannot wait for you to meet these sexy billionaire heroes, and to get you excited we've got sneak peek teasers, and all of the details! PLUS- an exciting giveaway for a gorgeous Kate Spade purse! Be sure to enter!

 

 

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GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win a Kate spade Purse!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

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About 69 MILLION THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU:

 

Driven into exile years earlier, due to family scandal, Declan Sinclair is called home, devastated to discover his brother has been murdered and he’s the new Duke of Darington. When clues point to the man he blames for both his exile and his brother’s death, Declan resolves to ruin the culprit. If only the daughter of the man’s business partner, lovely Lady Alethea Swinton, didn’t tempt his resolve. Lady Alethea Swinton has cultivated her pristine reputation in the hopes of winning her father’s praise. When her childhood friend returns, Alethea finds she’s willing to court scandal and defy her father to help the handsome Declan uncover the truth behind his brother’s death. Until she realizes Declan’s redemption will mean her family’s ruin.  

 

 Purchase

 

   

 

 

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About THE BILLIONAIRE'S HOLIDAY ENGAGEMENT:

 

Venture capitalist Cameron Price is a workaholic and great at his job, but his boss is convinced Cam needs a more balanced life. A wife on his arm would prove Cam’s the right man to take over the company. When a gorgeous caterer cooks up the perfect event and catches Cam’s eye, he proposes an innovative arrangement they’ll both benefit from. Lauren Brody knows Cam’s plan is crazy, but pretending to be his fiancée will allow her access to networking at events she’d never get into otherwise. It could be just the break she needs to get her catering business on the map and book the kind of clients she’s always dreamed of cooking for. If she can convince Mr. Buttoned Up Tight to have some unscheduled fun along the way, theirs could be a perfect arrangement.

 

 Purchase

 

 

   

 

 

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About HIS CONVENIENT HUSBAND:

 

NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not. Brash, loud, and gender fluid Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence. Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary…until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe. . .marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.

 

Purchase

 

 

 

 

 

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About CATCHING THE PLAYER:

 

Kassidy Thomas decided to stop hiding behind her past, and start living, but she didn’t quite bet on that start including her singing a horrible song in front of the handsomest bachelor in the NFL, Wyatt Hamilton. She also doesn’t think he’d then consequently ask her out on a date, but turns out when you’re actually living life…crazy things happen. He needs to win… Wyatt Hamilton is a player in every sense of the word. Married to the game, he has no interest in relationships, love, or even second nights with the same woman. But from the second the girl-next-door beauty Kassidy knocks on his door to deliver a singing telegram, nothing goes as planned. He can’t stop thinking about her, and keeps showing up on her doorstep for more. That is, until the unthinkable happens… And all bets are off.

 

Purchase

 

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

His Convenient Husband (Love and Sports, #1)His Convenient Husband by Robin Covington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Isaiah & Victor have a flash of sexy in their past that may come back to bite them. Isaiah is offering to help Victor stay here in America. To go home for him would be death. Isaiah struggles with this, since he is very attracted to Victor and has a hard time staying hands off.

Victor is starting to have real feelings for Isaiah. He finds the many parts of his personality very attractive and knows he is falling for him. How do you find love when the person you care for has no interest in falling?

This book was really sexy. I loved the interaction with the characters. The pages sizzle with electricity from the main characters chemistry. I love that the backstories of both are varied, diverse, and very real and easy to understand. Really good read.


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publisher.

View all my reviews

 

 

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