Book Reviews, Books I Read

What I Read | January 2018

What I Read

Welcome to 2018’s first edition of what I read! It’s so fun for me to go back through the books I read each month, think about them, and share them with you (and share if you should read them or not! I hope you enjoy it, too. As always, let me know thoughts and/or recommendations below 🙂

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Synopsis: It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. “Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”. Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

So, back in the day (like elementary school…) I read A Wrinkle In Time and loved it. I also read Meet The Austins (by the same author) and remember really liking that one as well. I’ve re-read AWIT a time or two since then but it’s definitely been quite a few years, and I recently realized I had never read the rest of the quintet, even though I thought I’d at least read the next one or two. With the new movie version coming out this year (which I think looks pretty good!) I decided I wanted to re-read not only A Wrinkle In Time, but the rest of the books, as well. I asked for them for Christmas, and have mostly been enjoying reading through them.

So let’s talk about AWIT. It’s still good. It’s still a classic. It still has some very interesting themes and concepts. And I still very much enjoyed it. It was also a much quicker read than I remembered it being. I can’t quite sort out if it’s nostalgia or the actual book that made it so I enjoyed it again, but either way, I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone!

4 stars.

A Wind In The Door by Madeleine L’Engle

Synopsis: The seed from which the story grows is a rather ordinary situation of Charles Wallace’s having difficulty in adapting to school. He is extremely bright, so much so that he gets punched around a lot for being “different”. He is also strangely, seriously ill (mitochondritis – the destruction of farandolae, minute creatures of the mitochondria in the blood). Determined to help Charles Wallace in school, Meg pays a visit to his principal, Mr. Jenkins, a dry, cold man with whom Meg herself has had unfortunate run-ins. The interview with Mr. Jenkins goes badly and Meg worriedly returns home to find Charles Wallace waiting for her. “There are,” he announces, “dragons in the twins’ vegetable garden. Or there were. They’ve moved to the north pasture now.” Dragons? Not really, but an entity, a being stranger by far than dragons; and the encounter with this alien creature is only the first step that leads Meg, Calvin, and Mr. Jenkins out into galactic space, and then into the unimaginable small world of a mitochondrion. And, at last, safely, triumphantly, home.

AWITD takes place about a year after AWIT and had some fascinating concepts in it. Madeleine L’Engle is a Christian, and as such, Christian themes are evident in her books, which I find interesting. I feel like a bit of the book was repetitive, but overall, it was another good read, and I enjoyed it just about as much as A Wrinkle In Time, probably not so much because of the story, but because of the themes it introduced and how it made me think.

4 stars.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and the unicorn Gaudior undertake a perilous journey through time in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the world by the mad dictator Madog Branzillo. They are not alone in their quest. Charles Wallace’s sister, Meg–grown and expecting her first child, but still able to enter her brother’s thoughts and emotions by “kything”–goes with him in spirit.But in overcoming the challenges, Charles Wallace must face the ultimate test of his faith and will, as he is sent within four people from another time, there to search for a way to avert the tragedy threatening them all.

This might be my favorite of the five books. It was unique in it’s storytelling, and kept my attention and kept me guessing the whole time, as it had an element of mystery running throughout the book. I highly recommend this one.

4 stars.

Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle

Synopsis: Sandy and his twin brother, Dennys, are the practical, down-to-earth members of the Murry family. They have never paid much attention to their scientist parents’ talk of highly theoretical things like tesseracts and farondalae. But now something has happened to Sandy and Dennys that drastically stretches their powers of belief. And, when disaster threatens the oasis where they have made their home, can they find a way back to their own time?

Oh, yikes, y’all. In my opinion, this book was not good. There was too much —- er, fantastical —- things happening in it. Sandy and Dennys somehow are sent back to the time of Noah, immediately before the flood. They meet people and creatures who may or may not be mentioned in the Bible, and are basically stuck in this time, until the flood is imminent and they figure out a way to go home. It was weird, it was boring, and it had slight underlying theme of sensuousness running through it that made me a bit uncomfortable. Just not a fan at all.

2 stars.

*The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

Synopsis: ‘You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’ Be careful what you wish for… Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream. But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets. And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye. As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

The first half of this book took me forever to get through, but the last half flew by. There were a lot of crazy twists and surprises, and I didn’t see most of them coming. I’m torn on this, because it wasn’t necessarily a new favorite of mine, but I liked that I didn’t guess twists. I also didn’t love the ending, so as a whole, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book, but if it seems interesting to you, give it a try! You might think differently than me 🙂

3 stars.

Book I Didn’t Finish:

How To Behave In A Crowd by Camille Bordas

I received this book from Blogging For Books forever ago, and have tried to pick it up a few times, and it hasn’t kept my attention. I’m going to hang on to it, and try to read it at a different time, because I think once I get into it, I will enjoy it, but for whatever reason, right now, I just can’t do it, and I’m a proponent of not stressing out about finishing books I don’t want to. If anyone else has read it, let me know!

Currently Reading: An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle (the last book in the Time Quintet) and Fierce Faith by Alli Worthington.

On My Bookshelf: Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel.

*I received free product from NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

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  • You know, I’m not actually sure I’ve ever read A Wrinkle in Time. Crazy! Might have to get on that, now that I know it’s a whole quintet. Plus yes, always like to read the book before the movie comes out 🙂

    • Haha, yeah, I don’t think I realized there were that many of them! There are quite a few more featuring the family, too. I never knew!

  • I have only read the first two of AWIT quintet and I have been meaning to read the third but its a shame the fourth book had such a weird, different feel!

  • I read AWIT as a kid, and really would like to revisit it before the movie comes out. Thanks for the reviews!

    • I’m glad I was able to re-read it before the movie comes out! Hope you can, too!