Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle

"Just before Meg Murry's little brother, Charles Wallace, falls deathly ill, he sees dragons in the vegetable garden. The dragons turn out to be Proginoskes, a cherubim composed of wings and eyes, wind and flam. It is up to Meg and Proginoskes, along with Meg's friend Calvin, to save Charles Wallace's life. To do so, they must deep within Charles Wallace to attempt to defeat the Echthroi-those who hate-and restore brilliant harmony and joy to the rhythm of creation, the song of the universe." -From

I enjoyed this sequel to A Wrinkle in Time. However, I did not enjoy it as much. The first book was a bit faster-paced. I felt that L'Engle drew-out certain scenes in the book that were unnecessarily long. Other than that, it was a good follow-up book, and I continue to look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

Madison was targeted and killed on prom day by a dark reaper. As it was her birthday, her light reaper, confused by her age, failed to save her. However, Madison was able to steal her killers' amulet, which keeps her among the living...more or less. She is being trained by her light reaper, while trying to avoid attacks from the dark reaper who desperately wants her dead. The question is why does he want her dead? What is her great destiny? With the help of light reaper, her crush, and a guardian angel, she is about to find out...

This is my first introduction to Kim Harrison, who also writes the Rachael Morgan series. I absolutely loved this book. It was a very fun read. I love the setting of the story and the use of mythological creatures...angels, reapers, seraphs, cherubs, etc... It's a refreshing twist and made for a rather interesting read. I also like the main character and heroine is some who is flawed, grounded and funny, someone you can relate to. I hope that Harrison makes this into a series. There seems to be the potential to go either way, making this into a series or leaving it as a stand alone book. I recommend it for anyone looking for a good escape from reality.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

"It was a dark and stormy night."
So begins L'Engle's ageless tale of time travel, mystery, adventure, and love. With the help of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and friend Calvin O'Keefe set off on an adventure through space to find her missing father and ultimately save the universe. A delightful and insightful read. I enjoyed this book immensely and very much look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Hoffman weaves a wonderful story in her bestseller Practical Magic. For 200 years, The Owen women have been blamed for everything that goes wrong, whether it be a common cold or an unexplained mishap. Gillian and Sally are the two youngest of the Owens line, who have inherited this ill-fate as well. When their parents die in a fire, the two sisters come to live with their two aunts. Instead of teaching the girls manners and good habits (like brushing their teeth), the aunts focus on developing the girls' magic abilities. However, the girls desperately desire a life outside of magic. For Gillian, that means a life of love and lust. As soon as she reaches the age of eighteen, she runs away to marry the first of many husbands, and live a life of self-gratification. For Sally, that means marriage, children, and a neighborhood that accepts her, rather than fear her. When Sally's husband dies and Gillian accidentally kills her latest boyfriend, the sister's (who haven't seen each other in eighteen years), come together to find support and resolution. When things don't quite go as planned, the sister's must call upon the aunt's to deliver them from disaster and ultimately bring the scattered family closer together.

When I first watched the movie in '98, I had no idea that the film was based on a novel. However, after reading the book, I can honestly say that besides the character's names, there is little the two share in common. The book gives a greater background on the characters, including Sally's two girls; Antonia and Kylie. Once Sally's husband dies, the rest of the book takes place at a house that Sally and her daughter's move to, rather than the aunt's house. The aunt's have much less involvement in the book than they do in the movie, and so on... I still hold the movie as one of my all time favorites, it's just quite different from the book, which is also very good. :) Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a modern-day fairytale.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

In this chilling tale, Margaret Atwood describes a society in which women have lost their rights...their right to work, their right to money, their right to education, their right to read, even their right to their own bodies. The narrator, Offred, once a mother, married, and employed, now is a handmaid. A handmaid is a women not quite qualified enough to be a "wife," but qualified enough to bare children. She lives with a prominent family, and has intercourse with the "commander" once a month, in hopes of producing a child. The handmaidens only have the opportunity to bare three children (with three different men), after which (or if they are unable to produce) they declared "unwomen" and are sent to the "colonies" to work until they die.

I absolutely love Atwood's strong feminine voice in this novel. However, this piece does not only raise questions regarding feminism, it also deals with topics of religion, slavery, politics, etc... It gives anyone, man or woman, a lot to think about long after they have set down the book. I highly recommend The Handmaid's Tale to any and all readers. It is not a book to be missed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

"...Eight boys set out on a Halloween night and are led into the depths of the past by a tall, mysterious character named Moundshroud. They ride on a black wind to autumn scenes in distant lands and times, where they witness other ways of celebrating this holiday about the dark time of year. Bradbury's lyrical prose whooshes along with the pell-mell rhythms of children running at night, screaming and laughing, and the reader is carried along by its sheer exuberance.

Bradbury's stories about children are always attended by dread--of change, adulthood, death. The Halloween Tree, while sweeter than his adult literature, is also touched at moments by the cold specter of loss--which is only fitting, of course, for a holiday in honor of the waning of the sun. This is a superb book for adults to read to children, a way to teach them, quite painlessly, about customs and imagery related to Halloween from ancient Egypt, Mediterranean cultures, Celtic Druidism, Mexico, and even a cathedral in Paris. ..." -Taken from

This short novel was made into a move in the early 90's, narrated by Bradbury himself. I used to watch it all the time on TV. At the time it scared the begebbers out of me, but that never stopped me from watching it. ;) I was researching Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, when I came across The Halloween Tree. As I read the description, I wondered if it was related to the movie. I found the movie in pieces on YouTube, if anyone is interested.* Reading this book took me back to my childhood. I will keep the book for sentiment, and hopefully be able to pass it on to my little one someday.

*There are video clips on my lj, but I was unable to figure out how to post them here. :( Here is a link to one of the clips on YouTube. You should check it out if you have time! :)