“A Wind in the Door” by Madeleine L’Engle

Related imageThis is the second book in the “A Wrinkle in Time” series (as far as I can tell because apparently the books are kinda written out of order…?) and it was not as intense as the first book, but still fit into the world of things that we were initially introduced to.

In the first book, we followed Meg, Calvin, and Meg’s super lovable little brother Charles Wallace. This time, Charles Wallace is sick and of course the only ones who can save him are Meg and Calvin. Plus some special friends. It seemed like this second book went by much quicker, but there wasn’t as much action. For example, we don’t even hear about Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit. They were enjoyable characters. Still, it is pretty insane the imagination that Madeleine L’Engle has in creating these worlds and these characters. Plus she delivered my favorite line in a book probably ever: “I am having feelings. They hurt.” This should be the human motto or something.

Anyway, we get to see mean old Mr. Jenkins, Meg’s former school principal, again, but we also get to meet some new interesting characters. Hopefully we’ll hear from them again, but for some reason I feel like they’re gone forever now.

I guess we’ll see. I have the rest of the books in this series on hold at my library, but so does everyone else so I am trying to have patience. I’m also working on “Brisingr” by Christopher Paolini and I have made literally zero progress on “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling.

In due time,
Maegan

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“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

Image result for a wrinkle in time bookI have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever read this book before now. Obviously Disney is releasing a movie version in a couple months, so I had to know what was going on. Apparently a lot of other people did too because the holds on this book and the other books in this series were/are ridiculous. But it was a short read so I got it fairly quickly and now I can pass it on to one of the dozens of other people waiting on it.

Anyway, this book was released in the early 1960s, so some of the language is a tiny bit old-timey, but it’s a nice change from the books of today. The story follows our heroine Meg Murry who, with her little brother Charles Wallace and new friend Calvin O’Keefe, get tessered across space and time by Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which so that they can rescue Meg’s father, who has been gone for quite some time now.

There are a lot of things about these characters and their personalities that I hope will be explained more in the other books in this series. We know that Charles Wallace is different than most other children. He can sense things about people and he just thinks in a much more mature way than you would think he should. Calvin is pulled to the family like he belongs, but we don’t know too much about him yet. And Mr. and Mrs. Murry are both scientists who seem to be extremely close to making a breakthrough in their respective work.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Disney conveys parts of this book to the big screen. There were some things described that I couldn’t even imagine, so I have no idea how they’re going to present it visually. I know it will be amazing though, because Disney. Mostly I’m looking forward to Aunt Beast, who is described as having four arms, tentacles instead of fingers, no face, and covered in soft fur.

While I wait on the next book in the series, “A Wind in the Door,” I’ve started on “Brisingr,” the third book in The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. I’m not too far in and I think I won’t make real progress until my audiobook hold comes available. Hopefully it won’t be too long.

Until next time,
Maegan

“Thor: The Junior Novel” by Elizabeth Rudnick

Image result for thor elizabeth rudnickAlas, the junior novelization of the movie “Thor.” Reasons for reading this book include, but are not limited to, the following: Marvel, length (it’s super short), ease of read (it’s literally called the *junior novel*), same author who wrote the “Beauty and the Beast” novelization.

Honestly though, I feel like this book barely scratched the Thor surface. We see Thor about to be king, Thor does a bad, Thor is banished and does not become king, Thor meets Jane, Jane’s research is snatched, mystery creature shows up, the end. I was in the last chapter (of literally a six-chapter book) thinking of all the things that happened in the movie that hadn’t happened yet, and then it was over.

I guess I can’t complain that much because I brought this on myself, but still.

Next up is finishing “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, then starting on “Brisingr,” which is the third novel in The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. All my series (serieses? Spell-check says no) are running together. I promise (probably not) that one day I will only read one series at a time.

I’m definitely lying,
Maegan

“Eldest: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 2” by Christopher Paolini

“Eldest” is the sequel to “Eragon” and it’s a little better than the first book, but some of it is more of the same. The story is a little more exciting this time because all the backstories have been established and we get to see Eragon train to become a better Rider. Plus, the story is told from at least three different points of view at times, so we get to see what’s going on outside of Eragon’s small world.

The kid really does have the “out of sight, out of mind” thing down. He actually forgets about his cousin who he abandoned for weeks at a time. Plus he claims to have mourned a lost friend, yet there is barely any thought of them once the character is gone.

One thing I can say about this book: There was a big plot point that was revealed at the very end that I absolutely saw coming. I’m talking 100,000% predictable. And then, just when you think the big reveal has been made, BOOM. Another huge plot twist! I did not see that coming at all and I absolutely loved the surprise. I wish more books had that kind of big reveal.

Anyway, I’m not going to lie, I actually started reading a different book in the middle of this because it just got so heavy that I wanted something light to break it up. So I started reading the junior novelization of “Thor.” That will probably be my next completed read. Then while I was in the middle of this book and “Thor,” my hold became available on “A Wrinkle in Time,” so obviously I had to start reading that one too. I have made absolutely no progress on “The Casual Vacancy,” though.

I think once I finish these books/series, I’m going to try to slow down and take a little bit of a break. Then again, I say that virtually every time.

We’ll see,
Maegan

“Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1” by Christopher Paolini

Image result for eragon bookThis series has been on my list for a little while now. I started reading this book several years ago when the “Eragon” movie came out, but I don’t think I ever finished it. I remember thinking when I watched the movie that there were several things that seemed like they would be explained more/better in the books, but I just couldn’t make it through. I also have the second book in the series, “Eldest,” but I don’t think I’ve ever cracked it open before now.

Going into reading the book this time, I vaguely remembered that the main character is named Eragon and that there is a dragon involved, but that was basically the extent of it.

The story does follow Eragon as he discovers a dragon egg, the egg hatches, and he winds up as a Rider with a dragon named Saphira. Their minds are linked so that they can mentally speak to and draw strength from each other, which is one of the coolest parts of the plot, in my opinion. However, it’s a little weakened when we discover that somewhat random characters can also speak to Saphira, so the bond isn’t as unique as I would have hoped. I guess it’s useful in some ways for others to communicate with Saphira at times, but I think it could have been done better.

The land where the story takes place is called Alagaesia, and lots of people, places, and things have similarly unique names. I like that these names lend a special feeling to the book, like that there is nothing else anywhere like them, but there was a time when we were introduced to many new names so quickly that I started getting different things confused. Even at the end I don’t think that I could match up all the places and things with the names used.

Overall, with a story like this with a land where dwarves and elves live and magic is used regularly, I feel like there was a lot of untapped potential. Even when things got interesting and there were battles and sieges, there wasn’t actually very much fighting. Maybe because it is aimed at kids there is less fighting and dying, but it makes the whole situation less realistic. I mean, even less realistic than a magical land where a teenage boy raises a dragon and learns to use magic.

Plus, Eragon is just not a very likeable character. For his youth, he seems pretty wise, but his emotional growth was stunted at some point. He feels despair over the death of a man he knew only a few weeks, and for lives lost in battle, but he seems barely phased by the death of the man who raised him for almost 16 years. He is in anguish when the wound is fresh, and then it is barely mentioned again. Same thing with his cousin, who he claimed was closer than a brother. They had such a strong bond, yet once Eragon leaves home, he barely thinks of his cousin at all. He actually seems much more affected by the town storyteller, who trained him for a few months, than the loss of his actual family members.

One final pet peeve: Saphira is described to be a gentle dragon who is very protective of Eragon. She shows affection to him and most of his mental dialogue is aimed at her. Yet in the audiobook of this story, she literally sounds like the Cookie Monster. I can’t stand it.

Anyway, I have already started “Eldest,” so I will let you know how that goes once I’m finished.

Until then,
Maegan

“Someday, Someday, Maybe” by Lauren Graham

Image result for someday, someday, maybeI didn’t realize I would be back so soon, but this book was great and I flew through the end of it yesterday.

Honestly, I didn’t know this book existed until I read Lauren Graham’s memoir, but I’m so glad I read it. It has the same kind of spunky humor that kind of reminds me of Gilmore Girls and I definitely saw in the memoir.

The main character, Franny Banks, has been in New York for two and a half years when we meet her. She is an aspiring actor and has set a self-imposed deadline that she will be successful within three years or she will give up the dream. Franny is hilarious and beautiful, but doesn’t seem to realize it even though people keep telling her that she is both hilarious and beautiful. She gets a couple small jobs, but things can’t seem to pan out. Still, she remains pretty well intact.

There are the obvious love interests and the second guy who is clearly obviously perfect, but I won’t give away any of those details. Except to say that the end lets you leave it to your imagination, which I sort of like, but at the same time, give me something I can just accept so that I can move on with my life and stop thinking about the lives of these fictional characters.

After this book, I found out that Lauren Graham is putting out a third book in April 2018 called “In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It,” so I will most definitely be reading that one too. She’s just got such a great sense of humor and it translates to her writing so well. In a perfect world, Lauren Graham would both be Lorelai Gilmore and she would have already written 237 novels so that we can always get that funny fix when we need it. But three so far is better than none!

Anyway, next up (still) is “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling, and then maybe the “Inheritance Cycle” books by Christopher Paolini. I’ve been meaning to get around to those for a while.

Happy almost New Year!
Maegan

 

Update: I failed to mention that the book takes place in early 1995! There are lots of things that are different, but I love what it adds to the story. For example, Franny carries around a Filofax with her and some of the pages are in the book. Plus no one has a cell phone and you have to make calls from pay phones. Different times, different times. Not that I really know what that is like, I was a toddler at the time.

Anywho, Franny is in her mid-twenties throughout, and I just really enjoyed getting to see a story about something that you don’t usually read about, especially by such a great actor as Lauren Graham.

“The Magic Misfits” by Neil Patrick Harris

Image result for the magic misfitsThis book is adorable and if I had a kid I would want them to read it. It’s written for children, but adults are allowed to cheat sometimes, right?

Anyway, the story follows Carter, who has run away from his sleazy Uncle Sly and has no parents and no home. He stumbles upon the town of Mineral Wells, where B. B. Bosso is holding his traveling carnival. In comes Mr. Vernon, who does a magic trick (Carter also does tricks, but doesn’t believe in magic) and gets Carter to his store. His daughter Leila is there, practicing her escapes.

Later we meet Theo and Ridley, both also into magic, but different kinds. Levitation and transformation, respectively.

All the while, B. B. Bosso and his criminal ways keep coming up and the kids have to seemingly stop him from robbing the town.

I like this series because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before. The kids do magic, but it’s always realistic and you can see the explanation behind everything that’s gong on. Leila is adopted and has two dads and Ridley is in a wheelchair, but it’s no big deal. In fact, we never actually find out why Ridley is in a wheelchair, it’s just part of her as a character and she does everything that the other characters do.

Overall, the book is very cute and fun and has little spots where you can teach yourself a few tricks. Plus, the book even states that there will be three more books, so there is more story to go. Apparently the next book deals with a villain who claims to be psychic, but I can’t find any information about when it will be released. It will probably take a while, since this book just came about a little over a month ago. Nevertheless, when it does come out, I will be reading it.

Bye for now,
Maegan

“Choose Your Own Autobiography” by Neil Patrick Harris

Image result for neil patrick harris choose your own autobioYes, this is another memoir. This one was quite different than the others, though. Instead of just a normal book, this one is actually set up like one of those books you read as a kid where you got to decide what you wanted to happen next by turning to different pages.

I broke the rules though because I didn’t want to miss anything, so I did a bad and read it straight through. The book pretty much alternates between NPH’s film/TV career, the theatre, having kids, meeting his now-husband David Burtka, and celebrity friends. Also magic and hosting awards shows. There are some nice little sections where NPH dies repeatedly, and you have to make the determination of what’s real and what isn’t.

Overall, I thought it was a really interesting way to build the book and it made it pretty unique. I haven’t read a book like this in years and it was fun to reminisce. I learned a little more about NPH that I didn’t know before thanks to TV and “How I Met Your Mother.”

Also, Neil Patrick Harris is involved in a lot. Plus his kids are absolutely adorable. Basically his whole family. Also I would like to see him on Broadway now.

Anyway, next I plan to read NPH’s new kid’s book “The Magic Misfits” because why not, plus I still need to read “Someday, Someday, Maybe” by Lauren Graham. “The Casual Vacancy” is still on the list but it’s a little farther down the list for now.

Don’t judge,
Maegan

“The Royal We” by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Image result for the royal we book coverThis book is amazing. Right from the start, I wanted to devour it (Devour is also the name of a sci-fi soap opera frequently referred to in part of the book). It was clever and witty and the characters were so well done that I didn’t want to stop reading it.

The story takes place over several years and is broken up into parts that are separated by about 2 years each time. So it starts in autumn 2007, then goes to summer 2009, etc. up to autumn 2013 and eventually “present day.” Honestly, I really couldn’t tell if “present day” was just a few months after autumn 2013 or another 2 years. Maybe that part should have been clarified.

Anyway, the main character is Rebecca Porter, or Bex, who is an American exchange student studying at Oxford for a year. Surprise, the guy living down the hall from her is Nicholas of Wales, future king of England. She makes fast friends with the rest of the people living on her floor, fun is had by all.

Eventually Bex and Nick get together, some royal stuff happens, a tad bit of drama.

Through it all, the story is peppered with Bex’s twin sister, Lacey, who really likes attention and literally quit med school to move to London just because Bex was there. (There were times when I didn’t care much for Lacey.) Also Freddie, Nick’s younger brother who is all fun, all the time, but, come to find out, actually does have feelings about things.

The dialogue is funny and charming and of course, I imagined lots of things in a British accent. I never wanted this story to end.

One thing is for sure, though, Bex is a lot more patient than most girls I know, including me. This girl let a guy date her in secret for FOUR YEARS, and she was apparently fine with it. I don’t know anyone who would allow their boyfriend to openly flirt with other girls in public for that long just to keep up appearances.

The book does give you a bit of a cliffhanger, but I got the feeling that it was more of a “decide your own story” idea than a “that’s all you get” feel. There was also a bonus chapter from Freddie’s side of the story, which was a nice addition.

Now I want to read other books by these two women. I also started reading “Choose Your Own Autobiography” by Neil Patrick Harris and I’m still working on “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling. That one is a struggle bus, but I will prevail.

Bye for now,
Maegan

“Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina” by Misty Copeland

Image result for life in motion book coverI know of Misty Copeland because she made history by becoming the first black principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, and she has also been a guest judge on various dance competition shows that I obsess over.

I love dance and I used to take ballet when I was younger, so I was interested to get some of Misty’s perspective. Turns out, she didn’t have it easy growing up.

Misty writes about how when she was younger, her mother would pack up and move with her children, oftentimes leaving boyfriends or husbands in her wake. There were six children together, who were very close and protective of each other. Eventually, money issues led to Misty, her sibling, their mother, and her mother’s boyfriend living in a motel.

All the while, Misty took her first ballet class at the age of 13 at the Boys and Girls Club. She grew to love it and was invited to take classes at the ballet teacher’s school. Not long after Misty started dancing, her mother wanted her to give up dance because she *wasn’t spending enough time with her friends,* even though dance was Misty’s life. She ended up moving in with her ballet teacher and lived with her for two years. The one thing I couldn’t help but think is that I bet her mom feels pretty bad now that she almost destroyed Misty’s career.

The book also details what Misty faced in the dance world with her race and body type. Through it all, it seems like she had many things fall into place to get her where she needed to be. She was a ballet prodigy who turned down the opportunity to study with professional ballet companies, she joined American Ballet Theatre when she was 15 or 16 but had to sit out her first year due to an injury, and yet, she still had directors in the company who wanted her to succeed and gave her opportunities to get to where she wanted to be. It’s pretty amazing to think about.

Misty also got to do some pretty cool things, like become friends with Prince and perform at some of his concerts on tour and find mentors who were stars in their day.

This book wasn’t written like most memoirs I’ve read. Instead of short chapters in essay form or conversations, the chapters were longer and written like a journal almost. The story jumped back and forth between big events in her life, but it seemed like everything come together eventually. This was also the first audiobook memoir that I listened to that wasn’t read by the author. Then again, I’m sure Misty Copeland is quite busy.

She is so inspiring and I love watching her dance, so I’m glad I took the time to pick up this book.

Until later,
Maegan