A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle – Book Review

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Title
: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeleine L’Engle
Genre: fantasy, young adult, science fiction
Order in series: Book # 1 in a quintet
Release Date: 1962
Length: 232 pages
(total of 12 chapters)

Synopsis

Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure—one that will threaten their lives and our universe.

1st sentence

It was a dark and stormy night.

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What— back in high school we took A Wrinkle in Time, it was one of the stories we learned in our Literature book, I was so intrigued by it and actually thought that what we took was the whole story but it turned out that it was only a small event in one of the novel’s chapters, so I bought it to read before the movie came out.

The cover — The colors used for the cover are lovely together and I like how the illustrations of many of the characters and settings in the book form a frame around the title. Plus I tend to gravitate towards books with the stamped silver or gold award labels (they remind me of picture books I used to read in the library when I was a kid).

My thoughts

In school what we read from this book turned out to be the middle part of chapter 6, the part where they go to this town where all houses look the same and the children bounce balls in the same rhythm and then this one boy does something unlike the rest and the mom freaks out and tries to hide him then later on the three kids -our protagonists- (Meg, Calvin, and Charles) get help from this freaky guy who tells them how to reach some building called CENTRAL Central Intelligence to look for the missing father.
For many years I thought A Wrinkle in Time was only about what I just wrote and I thought it was an awesome and creepy story but now that I had read the entire book I feel a bit disappointed. It was a great story in my head and when I first started reading the novel I liked the first half but then it started getting slower and I lost interest towards the second half of the book, so I didn’t care about IT or about the three Mrs’ or when we finally got to the part where the kids found Meg’s father.

There’s still 4 more books after this one to finish the entire series but I’m not so eager to read them. I expected to love it but it turns out that it was just mediocre.
Still, the characters were interesting and there’s some nice quotes too, I just didn’t like the progression of the story.

Overall          

Enjoyed half of it. If you feel like reading to know what’s it about then go ahead, this part is actually short.         3/5 stars

“You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?”
“Yes.” Mrs Whatsit said. “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”

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George’s Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl – Book Review

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Title: George’s Marvellous Medicine
Author: Roald Dahl
Genre: children’s book, classic, fiction
Release Date: 1981
Length:  104 pages

Synopsis

George Kranky’s Grandma is a miserable grouch. George really hates that horrid old witchy woman.
One Saturday morning, George is in charge of giving Grandma her medicine.
So-ho! Ah-ha! Ho-hum! George knows exactly what to do.
A magic medicine* it will be. One that will either cure her completely . . . or blow off the top of her head.
*WARNING: Do not try to make George’s Marvellous Medicine yourselves at home. It could be dangerous.

1st sentence

‘I’m going shopping in the village,’ George’s mother said to George on Saturday morning. ‘So be a good boy and don’t get up to mischief.’
This was a silly thing to say to a small boy at any time. It immediately made him wonder what sort of mischief he might get up to.

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What — To get to read more of Roald Dahl’s silly stories and to know what’s in that marvelous medicine of George’s.

The cover — A nice illustration of the boy having the time of his life mixing up different ingredients to make some medicine for his grandma.

My thoughts

This was one of the Dahl books that I’ve read aloud to my brother and we both enjoyed it.

It’s about a very bossy, disgusting, and creepy grandma who always gives her grandchild George a hard time so one day when George is alone with her and being responsible to give her her brown medicine he comes up with the idea of making her a medicine that might change her personality to the best and so we get to have fun watching him going from room to room getting whatever he thinks is fit to use.

The first half of the story is really funny and enjoyable, the second half is all about the father helping his son to remake the same exact medicine to fatten his animals for better business and the different trials trying to get it to make the needed effect which wasn’t as fun as the first half until the grandma started to make a few appearances around the end which got me laughing again.

Seeing the grandmother go through the changes the medicine caused her was fun.
Being extremely tall and thin suits her 🙂

Overall          

Another classic children’s read by Roald Dahl with funny illustrations by Quentin Blake.      4.5/5 stars

George had absolutely no doubts whatsoever about how he was going to make his famous medicine. He wasn’t going to fool about wondering whether to put in a little bit of this or a little bit of that. Quite simply, he was going to put in EVERYTHING he could find. There would be no messing about, no hesitating, no wondering whether a particular thing would knock the old girl sideways or not. The rule would be this: whatever he saw, if it was runny or powdery or gooey, in it went.

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The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald – Book Review

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Title
: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: classic, historical fiction
Release Date: April 10, 1925
Length: 184 pages
(total of 9 chapters)

Synopsis

Young, handsome and fabulously rich, Jay Gatsby appears to have it all, yet he yearns for the one thing  that will always be out of his reach, the absence of which renders his life of glittering parties and bright young things ultimately hollow. Glamorous, dangerous, hopeful and desperately in love, Gatsby’s naïve dreams can only lead to destruction.

1st sentence

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What— It’s The Great Gatsby so I had to read it. I’ve never seen any movie adaptation of it before. All the information I know about the story is from the many references of it that I’ve seen/read.

The cover —There were many editions to choose from but I decided to go with the classic orange of Penguin books with the Penguin in the bottom that seems to be dancing in one of the many parties in the story.

My thoughts

I honestly don’t know why I’ve never read this book before. I always get that thought whenever I finish reading a classic, I guess it’s because there are hundreds of popular classics so that’s why there’s no way I would have read every single one of them and yet I feel like I should have. I’ll just have to get used to having a well known classic that remains unread even when I’m in my seventies.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing is so beautiful, he also writes so many metaphors as well.
The way he wrote the story was interesting too. There’s Nick, the narrator and a major character in the story, who tells the story of different classes of the rich and describes all the parties (at one point he even started listing all of the guests who come to Gatsby’s parties, it was a bit boring but considering the short length of the book I’ll let it pass) and places and characters as well. Since he’s the one telling us the story we only know about the other characters based on his interactions with them or from what he hears of them from other people.
And I liked how there was so much build-up about Gatsby’s character till we were properly introduced to him. For about the first 55 pages we hear some characters talking about Gatsby and we know that Nick is his neighbor and he even spotted Gatsby standing in his lawn looking at the water in the night, so all this builds the suspense to actually be introduced to this mysterious Jay Gatsby. 

I really can’t stand Daisy – she and her filthy husband Tom deserve to be together- and I feel sad for Gatsby that he committed criminal acts and collected a lot of money and built his mansion, all to get Daisy’s attention to recreate the summer love he had with her in the past by also disowning his own past/poor background, she really was his only dream in his life and she really doesn’t deserve him. Love is blind that it makes one do such foolish things!

Overall          

Yes, it’s a novel about of bunch of people going to parties and about married couples having affairs with others but I liked the writing and setting.        4/5 stars

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further . . . And one fine morning —
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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I’ve Got Your Number, Sophie Kinsella – Book Review

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Title: I’ve Got Your Number
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: contemporary, chick lit, romance, humor
Release Date: October 31, 2011
Length: 461 pages
(total of 16 chapters)

Synopsis

A couple of glasses of bubbly with the girls and Poppy’s life has gone into meltdown. Not only has she lost her engagement ring, but in the panic that followed, she’s lost her phone too. When she spots an abandoned phone in a bin it seems it was meant to be . . . Finders Keepers!

Except the phone’s owner, elusive businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back, and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life. Can things get any more tangled?

1st sentence

Perspective. I need to get perspective. It’s not an earthquake or a crazed gunman or nuclear meltdown, is it? On the scale of disasters, this is not huge. Not huge. One day I expect I’ll look back at this moment and laugh and think, ‘Ha ha, how silly I was to worry —‘

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What— I’ve read Can You Keep a Secret? back when I was younger and I really felt like reading another Kinsella novel so I got this one first.

The cover — An illustration showing the main event of the story in a beautiful way. This was one of the first orders I made from Bookdepository and I didn’t realize that the dimensions was that of a mass market paperback so I’m stuck with it rather then having a bigger copy. Oh well.

My thoughts

If you’re ever in a very bad mood and in need of a mood lifter then you should pick up this book.

This novel is very entertaining, filled with laugh-out-loud moments with a mix of embarrassing moments. It follows Poppy with her mission to find her lost engagement ring during which she learns to be more confident and discover that maybe the right man for her isn’t actually the man she’s about to marry.
I seriously had so much fun reading it that I felt like I wanted to re-read it as soon as I flipped the last page over.

The attraction between Sam and Poppy was nice to read throughout the chapters and I also liked reading about the characters’ different careers and personalities.
The few footnotes thrown every few pages were a nice touch that I thoroughly enjoyed.

You know how sometimes when you like something a lot you either can’t stop talking about it or you can’t find enough words to express your full thoughts, in the case of I’ve Got Your Number it’s the latter. So please just give it a try to know what I’m not able to convey.

Overall

An enjoyable read that feels like you’re watching a Rom Com.              5/5 stars

I don’t know if she loves me. I don’t know if I love her. All I can say is, she’s the one I think about. All the time. She’s the voice I want to hear. She’s the face I hope to see.

 

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And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini – Book Review

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Title: And the Mountains Echoed
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Genre: historical drama, fiction, contemporary
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Length: 463 pages
(total of 9 chapters – long chapters, events within the chapter are separated by a feather)

Synopsis

Ten-year-old Abdullah would do anything for his younger sister. In a life of poverty and struggle, with no mother to care for them, Pari is the only person who brings Abdullah happiness. For her, he will trade his only pair of shoes to give her a feather for her treasured collection. When their father sets off with Pari across the desert to Kabul in search of work, Abdullah is determined not to be separated from her. Neither brother nor sister know what this fateful journey will bring them.
And the Mountains Echoed is a deeply moving epic of heartache, hope and, above all, the unbreakable bonds of love.

1st sentence

So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one.

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What— Reading a Khaled Hosseini book has always been a plan of mine and in 2016 Bookdepository did a big discount on And the Mountains Echoed so I ordered it straight away and read it soon after.

The cover — I have a weakness for books with any shade of purple (that’s how much I love the color). The cover with the brother and sister staring lovingly at each other with the mountains in the background looks very nice too.

My thoughts

Please don’t be deceived as I’ve been. After reading the first few pages I thought okay so we’ll be led through the journey of Abdullah searching for his sister but it turns out that that isn’t the center of the story, when the story started to stray to other characters’ plotlines I kept on telling myself “Ok, they’ll get back to the siblings soon enough, I mean the whole synopsis and cover indicate that’s it’s mainly about them anyway.”, but no. The siblings’ reunion does happen but that and Pari’s love for collecting feathers is just one of the many events that happen in the book.

After reading the first 3 pages or so I thought Hosseini’s writing was all over the place and I wasn’t so sure about his writing style, then I found myself going through the next pages very fast and fell in love with his different and simple way of writing. And, for his beautiful writing and way of creating subplots and characters interwoven with each other, I will definitely be reading his other two books.

All the characters in this book are with faults, some even do extremely bad deeds out of jealousy or want of power or mere cowardness, but that’s how all humans are, there’s good and bad in us all.
Certain events in the book made me very emotional and they’re still so fresh in my head, like the one with the 2 boys (one is the son of a war criminal and the other is a poor boy) getting to know each other which ended quite badly -I was really affected by that one;  and the one with the two cousins coming to Afganhastin after years of being away and meeting a girl in the hospital which teaches a lesson about making empty promises. Honestly, all the other subplots also left quite an impact on me. You’ll be doing lots of pondering after you’re done with the novel.

Sure, I felt depressed reading this -even after I finished it- but I loved it.

Overall          

A well written story of many characters interconnected over years and different countries.   4.5/5 stars

I am fifty-five years old. I have waited all my life to hear those words. Is it too late now for this? For us? Have we squandered too much for too long, Mamá and I? Part of me thinks it is better to go on as we have, to act as though we don’t know how ill suited we have been for each other. Less painful that way. Perhaps better than this belated offering. This fragile, trembling little glimpse of how it could have been between us. All it will beget is regret, I tell myself, and what good is regret? It brings back nothing. What we have lost is irretrievable.
And yet when my mother says, “Isn’t it beautiful, Markos?” I say to her, “It is , Mamá. It is beautiful,” and as something begins to break wide open inside me I reach over and take my mother’s hand in mine.

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