The Night Circus: A Review

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel like I was late to this party, but I’m so glad I read this book!
If by some craziness you haven’t read this book, I highly, highly, recommend. It has definitely become one of my favorite fantasy books to date.
The story surrounds this circus that only comes out at night (hence, the title). It’s a cover for this competition between two magicians (not in the sense that we know magicians, but actual people who can use magic). But the story is bigger than this competition. It’s about every person who is a part of this circus. It includes the performers and the patrons and how they are all connected by choices.
I liked the theme of choice in the story. Some of the choices are brought onto the characters through no control of their own, but the choices they do get to make are what really define them as people.
It’s a beautiful story. The writing, itself, is beautiful and descriptive without being overbearing. The story is not necessarily told in chronological order or from the same perspective. They build on each other, though, which I really liked. I could tell pretty quickly that no character was inconsequential. Every performer, every visitor played a part in the machine of the story.
As far as profanity, sex, and violence. There is one curse word at the beginning of the book, maybe in the first or second chapter. I thought it was foreshadowing more, but I didn’t come across any more in the future chapters. There is one love scene, and there are a few death/violent scenes, but none of them were detailed or graphic. Would recommend to older teen and up (I think it is actually categorized as adult fiction).

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

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The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding: A Review

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1)The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this would be the best book to delve into around Halloween, but because of my current energy levels, I read it throughout the month of November.

The basic story is about a boy named Prosper Redding. He comes from a very successful family in a small town. But he doesn’t quite share the successful gene. Come to find out, he has a demon (or malefactor) hiding inside of him, ready to break free on his upcoming 13th birthday. All of their success stems from a contract that their ancestor made with this malefactor around the Salem Witch Trials. And the ancestor tricked the malefactor, causing him to become trapped until now.

This is all revealed during a ritual and the family begins to attack Prosper. He escapes and finds refuge with his estranged Uncle Barnabas and his daughter, Nell. Nell is a witch, and they plan to use a spell to take care of the malefactor once and for all, but the demon grows stronger every day.

There are a lot of moving parts to this story. I think the author did well keeping the balance, though it did get a little chaotic at times. There is a major cliffhanger at the end of the book for an obvious sequel, if not series. And I liked the overall themes of power and how it can corrupt as well as being a good, authentic friend.

There were a few action-packed scenes of escape, plus the whole “my family is trying to kill me” kind of violence at the beginning. It’s meant to be a little spooky and scary. I liked the malefactor’s reaction to the modern world during Halloween. It was a cute scene.

I don’t know when the next book will come out. I might get it from the library. This is definitely geared towards middle school age kids. It’s pretty clean despite the spooky and creepy. Nothing too scary. I would definitely recommend it to that age group.

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

Turtles All The Way Down: A Review

Turtles All the Way DownTurtles All the Way Down by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first fictional book I have read in a long time that I cried at the end. In short, it’s amazing and I highly recommend it.
The story follows Aza Holmes, a teenager with possible OCD. It doesn’t outright say it in the book, but the story details her thought spirals and fears of dying from the microbes in her stomach taking over. To the point that it affects her daily life, and it can even be harmful to her health.
Aza and her best friend, Daisy, see on the news that a billionaire is missing. A billionaire who the police want to bring in on embezzlement charges. A billionaire whose son was once a friend of Aza. This reconnects Davis (the son) with Aza.
I truly thought this was going to be a detective kind of story, but it was more than that. It was other than that. It was a beautiful story about mental illness and how it feels on the inside and how it looks on the outside. The analogies, the struggles, the anxiety are all painted so perfectly in this story. It’s approached with honesty and a sense of realness.
I don’t have OCD, but I do have anxiety. And I related so much to those thought spirals. I related to Aza, to the frustration of not always being in control of thoughts, of not being able to just let a thought pass you by if it’s not productive or constructive.
I would recommend this book to everyone. I feel like it can open so many conversations about mental health and respect and understanding. As a side note, there is some profanity here and there but it’s not overused. There aren’t really any violent or sexual scenes either, though there are a few kissing scenes. Still, a beautifully written book. I can not speak highly enough about it.

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

The Ready-Made Thief: A Review

61etazk6pclThe Ready-Made Thief by Augustus Rose by Augustus Rose

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book reminded me a lot of the DaVinci Code series. It surrounded the works of an artist and the connection to the physical and metaphysical. But instead of religion being the metaphysical part, it was alchemy.
The story follows a teen runaway, Lee. She had made some poor choices, but just when she got her life back on track, she gets framed and thrown in juvie. From there, she is homeless and finds herself caught within the grasp of a secret society who is obsessed with the work of early 20th-century artist Marcel Duchamp. As she gets deeper involved, through no choice of her own, she realizes that she, too, will play an integral part in their obsession.
Overall, it was a good story. Slow at times, since there is a lot of physics and science, but towards the end, one of the men involved in secret society describes it in more of a metaphysical and artistic way.
There is some violence. And there is sexual content in the story, but not detailed graphic except for language. There is a brief attempted sexual assault, so I wouldn’t recommend the story for those that might be triggered by that. There is also one sex scene but it’s very brief and is used to continue the story. That’s because she gets pregnant (which you find out in the first chapter so it’s not a spoiler). Her coming to grips with the pregnancy plays throughout the entire story.
Overall, it’s a good story, though hard to follow at times. I still prefer Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code series to this book, but I think it’s in the same genre. This wouldn’t be a book I would own, though.

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used or would purchase personally.  Thanks!

Braving the Wilderness: A Review

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand AloneBraving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Overall, I enjoyed the book. My favorite piece of this particular book was her acronym BRAVING which she uses in each of her Practices chapters, making them a more dimensional and practical. I’ve read Brown before, and this book is similar to her other books, almost a continuation from Rising Strong. But in this book, she addresses the issues of communication in a polarizing culture.
The example that stood out most to me was the conversation she had with a woman about gun control after the Newtown shootings. Brown’s beliefs about the issue were more nuanced than the woman wanted them to be. The woman was looking for an either/or camp. Which side was Brown on? Slight spoiler, Brown was on her own side.
And that’s pretty much what the book is about. How to be patient in listening, not quickly putting people in one camp or the other, being generous and allowing people to have complex thought, not immediately needing to always have an answer, being okay with delaying that answer or hearing more of what the other had to say.
The only criticism I have for the book is that a lot of her values match a lot of my values or at least a lot of my friend’s opinions on social matters, so the book doesn’t seem very off-putting and I am able to get the gist of the content. But, I could see someone else reading this with a more conservative background and having a hard time with the examples. It seemed like only people who did not have a conservative view actually experienced the wilderness, which may not always be the case. I’ve seen instances around me when I’m around my more liberal friends that when a conservative friend speaks up, it’s harder for them in that setting to do so. But I think this content would benefit anyone who is frustrated with the social circles around them, with the lack of healthy communication. Also, I think this book coming out just a few months before the holidays is almost perfect timing.
No matter what “camp” you feel you fit into or don’t fit into, I would highly recommend this book for anyone that needs some encouragement while trying to navigate the very divided country we are living in at the moment. Not only does it give tools to communicate, but also to listen.

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

Echo: A Review


Echo, Volume 1: Moon Lake by Terry Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven’t read a lot of graphic novels recently, but I enjoyed the Marvel universe when I was a kid, as well as an adult with all of the movies that they put out now. So, when I was looking to begin really getting into the graphic novel genre, I have a friend who is pretty well-versed in all things comics. He suggested this comic.
Terry Moore’s art is absolutely gorgeous. Each frame is detailed and visually beautiful. And the story is pretty interesting as well. It begins with a girl named Annie performing tests on a flying suit for a classified military contractor laboratory. And while doing the test, they shoot her out of the sky. Pieces of her suit fall from the sky over civilian territory, affecting a couple of people, though the one in particular that we follow through the book is Julie. The metal from the suit adheres to Julie’s skin and chest, and the adventure goes from there.
There is some language throughout the book, and some adult themes, but nothing really too extreme. The metal does adhere to her chest, so there are a minimal amount of boob jokes, but overall, the book merely sets the stage for the rest of the series.
I hope to get the next one soon so I can find out what happens to Julie. It’s definitely a great start to getting back into graphic novels!

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

Eleanor and Park: A Review

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started reading this book, I didn’t think it was YA, considering all of the profanity and the adult nature of Eleanor’s situation. Despite those two things, the book was really good. It was crass and uncomfortable, which aptly describes the two main characters. Park and Eleanor didn’t quite fit in at school for different reasons. Park was half Korean in the middle of the mid-west, which made him feel like he stuck out. Eleanor came from a very dysfunctional, abusive family, and she felt like she was huge and fat compared to other girls her age.
I really liked the switching from Eleanor’s perspective to Park’s perspective throughout the chapters. How they viewed each other was quite different than how they viewed themselves, and their place in society.
It was interesting to see the contrast between Park’s parents and Eleanor’s mom and stepdad. Even the difference between how Eleanor viewed life before her parent’s divorce. The relationships were complex, and I didn’t catch on to the mystery of the words written on her cover until it was revealed (which I won’t spoil, but it’s an awful reveal).
For any parents wondering if this would be a good book to read, I would recommend that they read it before giving it to their teen. It definitely deals with some pretty heavy material, but I think it deals with it well.

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!